How to win the office politics game

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Politics literary means the use of tactics and strategy to gain power in a group or organization. In the real world, politics is the theory and practice of government, especially the activities associated with governing, with obtaining legislative or executive power, or with forming and running organizations connected with government.

Politics in its simplest form connotes activities that goes with obtaining power and influence, but because of its usage in possessing or displaying shrewdness, tact, or cunningness, it has since assumed a negative connotation.

Politics exists virtually in all aspect of human existence. It is present in the market place, school, classroom, the family, church, compound, trade unions, traditional institutions, corporations, companies, offices, all workplaces and any organized human setting.

Working in any organization regardless of the sector involves a lot of completion. In any workplace you can think of there is an atom of politics, be it the bank, civil service, private firms, shops, super markets, and even a mechanic workshop.

People get involved in office politics for various reasons which usually borders on inducing favor from the boss or supervisors, promotions, to avoid queries, stay ahead of others, have key roles in the office, and ultimately to avoid sack and keep their job.

Although this practice is extremely unprofessional and goes contrary to work ethics and professionalism, but people see it as an easy way out or a cheap way of beating the competition. Most perpetuators of office politics appear very nice and conniving to the boss. They try to appear as the best among other colleagues and they don’t hesitate to slander, defame of gossip in order to gain favor.

Working in an environment where office politics is on the loose is very challenging and difficult especially if you are the type that detest the practice. One must be decisive either to join the bandwagon or stand out from the crowd.

Unfortunately some bosses encourage this unprofessional practice by favoring some set of staff over others for personal reasons. The effects of such practice breeds unhealthy relationships in the workplace, reduces synergy and team spirit suffers, the work environment become unsafe, and may also lead to inability to meet up with the overall goals and objective of the organization.

If you have never been on the receiving end of office politics you may never be able to grasp the harmful and damaging effect it has on its victims. It places one in a state of inferiority complex, frustration, bitterness and may lead to depression and in some extreme cases it can lead to willful resignation.

It could also backfire on the perpetuators and the consequences is worse than what the original victim experiences.

But involving in office politics is not the only way to stay on top of the game. There is only one character that puts you ahead of others, and that is performance. Performance involves being the best in what you do. Whatever is expected of you gets delivered. I can bet there is no boss that hates a performing staff.

Performance helps a staff to be more professional, focused, balanced and earning a natural and mutual respect from your equals and seniors on the job. Only lazy people who cannot perform usually get involved in office politics just to cover up their weaknesses.

There are important factors that can enhance performance in the workplace which can stand you out from the crowd. Adhering to these principles will not only keep you on the job, but it will equally keep you at the top regardless of whether people hate or love you. Some of the winning formulas are enumerated below:

  1. Read your staff handbook and follow the rules: Most organizations have a staff handbook which contains the dos and don’ts of the work environment. Sometimes it is very easy and tempting to ignore it and assume knowledge of the rules, but having a good background information of the rules of engagement will better position you on how to behave and relate well with your colleagues and supervisors.
  1. Understand the standard operating procedures: Much like the handbook, organizations also have a standard operating procedures which stipulates how various task are to be performed. Knowing how to do your job as specified by your employer will give you an edge over others.
  1. Pay attention to time management: Time management is the ability to utilize the little time you have and allot tasks in the order of importance. A good time manager will deliver better than one who careless about time. Your boss will believe in you if you are the type that delivers in time without excuses.
  1. Obey your boss: The easiest way to get into trouble in the workplace is to disobey your boss or supervisors. Doing what is expected of you will position you as a performer and will always place you ahead of others.
  1. Respect your equals and junior colleagues: Mutual respect among colleagues breeds a safe work environment and happiness. A good staff respects everyone without being vulgar and tries to have a good working relationship with everybody.
  1. Be professional: Being professional demands that you do not take anything personal in the workplace. Know that the reason for waking up every morning and going to work is to be productive and fulfil your organization’s goals. There is little room for emotions in the workplace which is why being professional at all times will save a staff from many troubles.
  2. Set targets for yourself: Sure your company demands some level of performance from you, but what do you expect from yourself? Setting your personal targets on daily basis will keep you on top of your game.
  1. Personally appraise your performance: Appraisals is a judgment or opinion of something or somebody, especially one that assesses effectiveness or usefulness. In the workplace appraisals are used to measure performance in relation to rewards and promotions. Personally checkmating your performance will constantly put you in the know of your statues.
  1. Take pride in what you do: Do you complain about your job like others? If yes it is time to change strategy. Take pride in what you do and perform your task as if no one else can. When you are happy with your job, you become more productive.

Getting a job in this harsh economic dispensation is a challenging chase, losing a job you love is even more painful. Why risk your career for office politics when you can simply get the job done and earn all the respect in the workplace.

Taking the easy way out can be tempting, but following the rules of engagement can be daunting but will prove to be beneficial on the long run. Surviving and succeeding in your workplace is the primary objective of this article and I sincerely hope it will help in positioning you for better performance in your workplace in order to avoid playing the chez game that could cost you your job.

About Haruna Magaji 2481 Articles
Haruna Magaji is a journalist, foreign policy expert and closet musician. He is a graduate of ABU Zaria and a member of the Nigerian union of journalists. JSA, as he is fondly called, resides in Suleja, Abuja. email him at - [email protected]

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