Toronto — Aug. 23
Like it or not, office politics exist in every workplace. Whether you feel comfortable dealing with these situations or whether you aim to avoid them, Randstad Canada, a staffing, recruitment and HR services firm, emphasizes the importance of learning how to handle them in a constructive way.
Here are some helpful tips when dealing with this potentially destructive workplace dynamic.
Watch and learn. Take the time to observe around you. Who are the key influencers? Who are the decision makers? Who are the informal leaders? How are the decisions made – by a few key stakeholders or by consensus? What are the key factors that will drive a project to fail or to succeed? What are the styles of communication used? Direct, formal, factual, etc.?
Make connections. Once you have a better idea of who the key players are, make connections, at all levels, both through the formal and informal networks. Being part of various networks will ensure you develop a broad perspective of the organization.
Be trustworthy. Building trust can take a while, but losing it can happen in a minute and can cause irreparable damage. Home in on your listening skills, as those will help you get a better sense of underlying issues and hidden motivations, and will help you establish a “give and take” type of interaction with your colleagues.
Stay away from dodgy strategies. Be aware that some people will use questionable strategies to get ahead. Learn to detect those behaviors and don’t give in to rumors, judgments and interpretations without carefully evaluating all the angles of a story. In that same respect, choose carefully what information you will give out and to whom.
Find solutions. If you disagree with a decision or a process, bring a new perspective or solution to the table, rather than complain about it. Keep in mind the organization’s objectives and highlight how it will benefit the company, not you. Communicate your message in an assertive way, without being aggressive. Show that you have done your homework through thorough research; this will earn you more respect than a flashy presentation.
Gain visibility through your accomplishments. Find ways to promote your own successes, and keep an eye out for projects that could be a great opportunity to challenge yourself and to grow.
Maintain integrity. Respect your commitments, stay professional and courteous at all times, even with the people you are wary of, and encourage a collaborative mindset within your team.
Source: Randstad Canada