June 3, 2019 at 10:18 am #2446365
Hello, I was just wondering, what is office politics? I always hear about the term. But I always equated it to “drama” or “favoritism”…Can someone please enlighten me as to how I can navigate myself around an office politically?
It has been a while since I've worked in an office….June 3, 2019 at 10:57 am #2446536
Just be polite to everyone and avoid gossip.June 3, 2019 at 2:40 pm #2447394
If someone asks you what you think about so and so, just smile and say “I think they are great!” this should keep the drama to a minimum.June 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm #2447616
Every office has different dynamics. I think the key for most places is to stay above the drama and gossip and just be a nice person. I've noticed that the people who like to gossip about other employees generally will talk about you too, so I try not to engage with those people if I can help it.June 4, 2019 at 7:05 pm #2451507
if you watch and see who is promoted and who is not, that will clue you in to office politicsJune 7, 2019 at 5:29 am #2458044
So much politics in bigger tax departments on the corporate side. Favoritism, groupism (if that’s even a word)..June 7, 2019 at 5:47 am #2458071
Office politics amount to this. People with good communication skills and high EQ are liked by their superiors and get promoted. People that have high level technical skills, but are not good at those other things I just mentioned, become Staff II, III, IV and so on, but don't get meaningful promotions. Then they get bitter and blame their lack of career progress on something they call office politics.June 7, 2019 at 7:01 am #2458170
Pork Flavored BaconParticipant
Good explanation, Jimmy Dugan. I would agree with that.
Oftentimes you'll hear people justify their lack of progression by saying stuff like “I would never kiss ass just for a promotion.” or something along those lines. People like that get eaten alive because they have no idea how to play the game. It's not about kissing ass but just being an affable person and knowing how to read people.June 7, 2019 at 7:15 am #2458194
That is some great advice…thanks everyoneJune 7, 2019 at 7:22 am #2458212
Why are my posts being moderated? What did I say?June 7, 2019 at 7:27 am #2458230
LOL. It's not being manipulative or playing mind games vs. being smart. Most people that make it up the ladder are technically smart in addition to having good people skills.
It's about being able to communicate well, run a meeting, face with clients, present to executives, not come off like a complete jerk in emails, etc. You may be able to make Excel dance, but you aren't going anywhere if you can't do those other things. That leaves you sitting in your cubicle mumbling about office politics and so-and-so “kissing a$%” or “playing mind games”.June 8, 2019 at 7:42 pm #2462685
It's also who you know more than what you know. Let's be real here, guys.July 1, 2019 at 11:10 pm #2523636
I've experienced some form of office politics at every company I have gone to.
The first corporate job I had, it was accounting vs. operations and HR. Accounting had a reputation for being jerks and difficult to work with and I was transferring from HR into Accounting. Yikes! HR director tried to warn me about the department.
He told me not to try to change anything. Don't make suggestions. Stay under the radar. Learn as much as I can.
Did I listen? No, of course not.
My first week in accounting, the VP's favorite launched a campaign to discredit everything about me and even went as far as to accuse me of purposefully withholding copies of A/R documents to make her job more difficult. She was a great communicator and the bosses favorite, but she was so negative and very difficult for me to be around. The other two girls in our department went along with her crap for a while up until the Boss's favorite got promoted to a position above my supervisor. Than all the sudden all the gloves were off.
I went from being the new girl to the one everyone came to talk to when everything got real.
I left that company because it was toxic and there was only so far I could go.
I went to a construction company afterwards and it was amazing. I thankfully got a boss that was very relieved to have talent at a reasonable salary and I was eager to learn and he was happy to teach. For the most part I really loved that job but there was only so far I could advance at that company. I like to think there weren't any office politics because the leaders were secure with their position and did not feel a need to tear me down or anyone down for that matter.
I moved onto a very large company with over 6,000 employees. I worked in central accounting so we had about 80 accountants and there were six on my team. Our supervisor was a little “unpolished” and was great at a lot of things a supervisor should be good at, but also fell trap to many of the pit falls one can fall into when you just don't know any better and haven't gotten in trouble for it yet. She did have a favorite on our team and that person was very intelligent, very communicative and ridiculously toxic. It was a rough feeling when I would get cut down in meetings by this toxic person and I couldn't say anything to my supervisor about it because I was afraid they would take the toxic person's side or think I was blowing it out of proportion.
My saving grace was another teammate that came to me and told me that she felt like she was also being attacked by that person. I started speaking up after that. I had to cause a few waves in the corporate structure but my colleagues respected me and even thanked me for addressing the issue. And after making my supervisor aware of it the blows started to subside a little. If I had stayed I may or may not have become a supervisor. I remember feeling uneasy because I was having to push through those boundaries in order to set up a healthier work environment but at the same time I realized it wasn't an environment I wanted to keep working in.
My current company has a great work culture but I'm not good at playing office politics at this one.
You live and you learn. My advice is to pick the companies you really want to work for and do some research on them before you bother applying. Pay attention to red flags. And if you can't, if you're a victim of circumstance like I am in this round, do everything you can to learn from it so that you do not bring those same problems into your next job.July 2, 2019 at 1:25 pm #2525352
LIFO The PartyParticipant
Office politics is all about the leverage equation. The more leverage you have over your boss, the more you can get away with. How do you build leverage with your boss? Do great work, be a brown noser once in a while, and make sure your boss is aware of your contributions to the organization.
Oh yeah, and forget about “fairness” in the workplace. We live in a democratic society where fairness is always the expectation, but this is not the case within the confines of an organization. There will be times where you will inevitably end up with the short end of the stick; just make sure to have a good attitude and don’t bad mouth other people.
Case and point: where do you stand within the leverage equation. Do you have a lot of leverage over your boss, or do you need to put in the extra work to build more leverage?July 11, 2019 at 10:13 pm #2551287
My firm has office politics but mostly because we have a 50+ yr old office manager who thinks the firm would melt into oblivion without her. She has even come to me and told me she could take my job any day of the week if she really wanted (with her associate's degree, LOL). I've dreamed about the day I quit and tell them she is the main contributor of why I quit (probably won't do that, but it's a dream)… She makes every day stressful with her garbage attitude and crap talk about others in the office.July 17, 2019 at 5:02 pm #2563677
I think the point that is missing is segregating “people skills” and “office politics”. The former is necessary for meaningful promotion. However, the latter is not necessary.
I started at an audit role where I immediately knew I didn’t fit in. Heavy office politics and some arguably rude individuals. However, I put my head down, proved I was good, and always had a good attitude.
Something that might help is to not talk Bad about people but be honest about what you think of the firm in general, areas to improve, etc. The key is to steer clear of individuals specifically.
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