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Four in five employees believe office politics are alive and well in their workplace, and a majority admit that they cannot get ahead in their careers without resorting to such politics.
This new survey of 1,000 employees in the US by Accountemps makes a point much debated in Asia, where organisational politics is the number two cause of stress for employees in Singapore, and with only 23% of Malaysians stating they are engaged at work.
In the Accountemps’ survey, 28% of respondents said “politicking” is very necessary for career advancement, with more than half (55%) saying they take part in such a culture.
The most common forms of politics? Gossip (46%), flattering the boss (28%), and taking credit for others’ work (17%).
Only 14% of employees in the Accountemps’ survey said office politics is not necessary at all to get ahead, compared to the 48% who said politicking was “somewhat necessary”.
Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps, noted that office politics are a natural part of workplace dynamics, where the key lies in understanding the core of politically charged situations, such as personalities or working relationships.
He added: “If you must get involved, you want to be seen as the diplomat.”
Accountemps also gave ideas on how to handle the six types of office politicians:
1. How to deal with Gossip Hound: Keep conversations with this individual related to business. When you sense the topic is shifting to coworkers’ personal lives, gracefully exit the conversation by saying you have pressing work to attend to.
2. How to deal with Credit Thief: Be more vocal about your views and projects in front of the whole team. Provide frequent updates to your manager so there is no confusion about where credit is due.
3. How to deal with Flatterer: Fortunately, most managers can see through fakeness, so there’s no need for you to call out this behaviour.
4. How to deal with Saboteur: Be wary of this individual. Sometimes a Saboteur will back down if confronted. If the issue continues, keep track of your interactions and bring it up with the boss or HR.
5. How to deal with Lobbyist: Voice your views on projects and speak up if you disagree with their outlook. Though a Lobbyist can be unreceptive to fresh ideas, a little explanation may be the key to getting them to open up to new concepts.
6. How to deal with Adviser: Befriend the Adviser – he/she is often the gatekeeper of significant information and wields influence behind the scenes.
Lead image: 123RF