How To Navigate In Office Politics – 7 Techniques For Dealing With The Stress Of Workplace Dynamics

You can handle this (Image: Getty /

You never felt like you loved your job, but hated everyone else thing does it go with?

The parts of the job that aren’t your actual job – endless meetings, dealing with a toxic boss, trying to concentrate in a noisy office – can be seriously exhausting, and perhaps nothing more than having to navigate office politics.

Whether it’s dealing with people’s egos or tiptoeing around drama with expert precision, the stress of office relationships can be immense, often to the detriment of our productivity and our economy. mental well-being.

After all, it’s not just the daily chores that can add up and contribute to burnout. It is also the insidiousness of dealing with office politics.

So how do we deal with it?

We spoke with workplace expert Salman Raza for his expert advice.

Know the motivations of your colleagues

Improve your awareness of people’s behavior behind the scenes by taking a deeper look at where they’re coming from and why they’re acting the way they do.

“We often expose and witness workplace politics without even realizing it,” says Salman. “Personality types and behaviors are very important here.

“Being aware of the different types of behavior and their political motivations can help you deal with individuals in a sympathetic and effective manner and use their skills and experience for the general good of the team. “

To identify people’s motivations, Salman points to a model developed by Simon Baddeley and Kim James, which is broken down in this image (click to enlarge):

table of political motivations at work

In which section is your boss’s behavior located?

Once you can identify certain behaviors, you can learn to deal with each one.

“For example, if we notice fox behavior (secret behind the scenes, using others to do their bidding), my strategy would be to step up or encourage transparency,” notes Salman. “Or, if we notice the behavior of the donkeys, my strategy would be to ignore their temper tantrums and focus on the job at hand.”

Check in with your own emotions

Don’t go overboard or dismiss your feelings outright – take a break to check in with yourself.

“Take inventory of your feelings,” recommends Salman. “When you are faced with a situation at work that increases your emotional stress levels, take a break and take stock of your feelings.

For example, if a coworker blatantly ignores you when asking for help, ask yourself “why do I feel angry and upset?” ”

“By dealing with these feelings, you will give yourself time to consider your next step instead of reacting impulsively. ”

Do your part

You may not be able to control the behavior of people in your workplace, but what you have power over is your own actions.

Don’t lower yourself to the level of others and don’t try to beat people at their own game.

If your managers’ lack of transparency frustrates you, make sure you maintain clear, open, and honest communication. If you feel like someone is always behind your back, talk to them directly about everything they need to know.

Set an example and keep yourself free from all nastiness, if only to avoid getting into this damaging cycle of “well, they did that, so I’m going to do it right now”.

Stay away from triggering situations in the moment

“Whether it’s a heated argument with a coworker or a blatant disrespect from a client, try to exit the situation immediately with grace,” says Salman. “Have a glass of water, ask for a few minutes to collect your thoughts.

“If you can’t leave your physical workspace, try standing instead of sitting or facing a different direction for a few moments. ”

Channel your empathy

To try to understand boring coworkers as human beings can go a long way in reducing irritation.

Salman suggests, “Listen to things that awaken your human side. Empathy can instantly soothe negative emotions.

“Try to remember that the trigger is someone’s partner, son, daughter, friend, etc.”

Remember, most people just try to do their best at work and have a lifetime outside of the office environment. Think about what makes them behave in certain ways – is there a rotten work culture? Are they under a lot of pressure? Does instability at work make them competitive?

Do not evacuate other colleagues too much

We know, we know – bitching about that person you and your work best friend feel deeply about seems like fun.

But deep down, you know that this will only breed even more discontent and division.

Entertaining the people you work with not only unfairly influences their perspective on others, it also doesn’t present you in your best light.

Try to reduce your whining a bit, limit it to people you don’t work with, or try Salman’s suggestion of expressing your emotions on paper.

“Write down your frustrations and shred them,” says Salman. “Sometimes it helps to put your frustrations and negative emotions on paper.

“Write exactly what you want to say, then shred them. Just writing down your feelings can help you stay calm. Otherwise, shout them out loud when you’re alone – in the shower, for example. ‘

Document your work

A classic technique of office politics? Credit theft.

Don’t let these sneaky guys get away with it. Document your work and your successes – and don’t hesitate to shout about them. Let your boss know what you’ve done and accomplished, so no one can question your productivity or question your talent.

Salman Raza is a management expert and the author of Nonconformities in Life: A Listener’s Story on the Practical Application of Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Strategies.

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