Situation 7: PLAYING OFFICE POLITICS

Femsy welcomes Betsy in her team as the new Regional Sales Supervisor. She advises Betsy to not to get caught up in office politics, but focus on doing the job right. Betsy has a different view.

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A great leader:

  • Is able to relate to others and builds effective network relationships;
  • Markets herself well and pitches herself to the situation;
  • Is sensitive to how people and organisations function;
  • Views corporate politics as a necessary part of business life;
  • Knows how to get things done through the formal channels and informal network.

How to handle the situation:

Decisions at work are impacted by both work related goals and personal factors.

Office politics are the strategies that people play to gain advantage, personally or for a business goal they support.

You cannot avoid office politics.  Unless you know who the go-to people are and you understand how things get done within your organisation, you will soon find out that your ideas are not listened to, your plans are not taken seriously and your hard work never seems to get the attention it deserves.

How you handle sensitive workplace situations can make or break your professional prospects. Navigating office politics involve common sense, courtesy and compromise.

Great leaders who are politically savvy get things done with a minimum of noise for the maximum benefit.

Last but not least: don’t confuse office politics with “being political” – a polite term for not being trusted.

Learning suggestions:

  • To get a handle on office politics, observe how things get done in your organisation. Ask some key questions: What are the core values and how are they enforced? Are short- or long-term results more valued? Do decisions flow through the formal hierarchy or informal networks? What are the unspoken assumptions about how work gets done? How much risk is tolerated? What information gets shared and with whom? Who are the role models? Who are the movers and shakers? The answers to these questions will give you a good sense of the work place culture of your organisation;
  • Build a broad coalition of support: aim to build solid connections with colleagues at all levels of your organisation – not just at the top. Pay it forward by sharing credit for positive outcomes, delivering on promises and helping out when an extra hand is needed;
  • Self promotion: one of your keys to success is your ability to let others know who you are, what you have to offer and how you can make a difference in the organisation;
  • Learn to communicate persuasively, develop an assertive style backed with solid facts and examples, adjust your messages for different audiences. Take an assertive communications skills course to further build your self-confidence;
  • Establish a mentor relationship with a senior leader to help you navigate through complex political situations effectively and quietly

Femchallenge:

Who are the go-to people in your organisation and how do you relate to them?  

Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.

 

Read more about Co-Colours and Co-Colours Team.

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