Why do you think the water cooler or the coffee machine is one of the most favourite spots in an organization? Not only because employees get a breather from work pressures, stress and deadlines. It is also because the workforce gets to say a hello to their colleagues, network and gossip and indulge in office politics. Unless you work alone, you would have come across office politics in one form or the other. At work, there is always a mix of different kinds of jobs, different kinds of people and their working styles and most importantly, you don’t always get to choose who you work with.
It is never easy to stay away from office politics, either as an observer or an outsider or getting involved right in the middle of it all. It takes a lot of practice and a change of mindset and behaviour to be able to keep out of it all. But it can be accomplished.
Here are a few tips on making it easier to do so.
Respect others and treat them the way you want to be treated
Gossiping is the foundation for workplace politics. It can become very damaging and as news gets passed around, it usually ends up far from the truth and quite distorted. Do not indulge in gossip. It is said that whoever gossips almost always get gossiped about too. If someone tells you something, do not pass it on. Maintain a professional attitude and with your words and actions, you can let your co-workers know that you do not want to indulge in gossip or office politics.
Being self-aware is an important skill to cultivate, both at the workplace and outside in life. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and your part in the world helps you put things in perspective. If people ignore your ideas during meetings or talk over your head, then it might be time to have a hard look at yourself and have some things changed, maybe.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
What happens at work should stay at work. Do not carry it over into your life outside of the office. You will be happy when you focus on work at work and on home life when you are at home. If you are bothered about the politics at work and want somebody to listen to you outside of the office, then it might be a good idea to talk to somebody. But ensure that it does not spill over into a long diatribe and a continuous ranting and raving.
Be professional and do your job well
Being professional and doing your job well is the best way to handle office politics and gossip, even if everyone around you isn’t being so professional. Do the job that you have been assigned to do. It will help you in the long run and will not give anyone a chance to reproach you or question your competency.
It can get tiring and frustrating to be constantly involved in controversies. See the bigger picture, step back and be objective. It can help you to see what you are doing and rise above the situation of gossip and office politics.