How to Rise Above Office Politics

Last Updated Oct 14, 2008 10:56 AM EDT

274599175_79a7abb30c_m.jpgIf you've ever been embroiled in high-octane office politics, you know it's not a pretty thing. Whether it's comprised of petty personality differences or includes slimy, strategic maneuvering for a professional advantage, the undercurrents swirling around you can make it tough to focus on your job and keep your productivity high. If you'd prefer not to get tangled up in the daytime drama in your workplace, here are some approaches that can help you rise above the fray.

The Slacker Manager advocates several ways to avoid office problems by staying apolitical. Among the suggestions: Be yourself. Get your agendas out in the open. Be willing to hear opposing points of view and change your mind when it's warranted. And don't gossip; exercise a little control with your internal censor.

Monster.com suggests you practice positive politics. Ask for counsel from respected higher-ups, perform deliberate acts of kindness (a thank-you note can do wonders) and take on visible and important tasks. And if someone is actively trying to sabotage you, make sure you stay on your boss's radar and use humor and communication to defuse the situation.

Penelope Trunk at the Brazen Careerist points out that people drama in the workplace is pretty much unavoidable, but that you can master office politics by being nice. Make time for your co-workers, listen, have a genuine interest in others and practice empathy.

Finally, think about office politics like basketball, advises Ploomy. Get to know your teammates, don't be a ball hog, scout your competition, make your free throws, play hard for all four quarters -- and shake hands at the end of the game.

(image by davidcrow via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.