Prime the pump
September 27, 2022
Identifying the office politicians and how to handle them

“JUST BECAUSE you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” – Pericles Today we draw from a survey conducted by Accountemps of professionals on office politics. Eighty per cent of them believed that office politics is alive and well. Furthermore, of those 80 per cent, 46 per cent found gossiping or spreading rumours as the most common office politics activities. Twenty-eight per cent found gaining favour by flattering the boss as the most common, while 17 per cent chose taking credit for others’ work, and five per cent selected sabotaging co-workers’ projects.

Only 14 per cent of survey respondents said participating in office politics is not necessary at all to get ahead, while more than half of workers (fifty-five per cent) said they take part in office politics, with 16 per cent describing themselves as active campaigner.

Office politics exists in every organization and understanding your organization’s political landscape is an important step in your career advantage. These days, it takes more than just minding your business and getting the work done to advance.

There are active campaigners on the workplace trail who are willing to do anything to improve their status and advance their personal agenda. To succeed in a business environment, you need to be a politician, and developing some political know-how can prevent you from being a victim of office politics and help with your personal advancement.

Often, people are motivated to become active campaigners because they want to sell their ideas, influence decisions, or achieve objectives. To accomplish their goals, they form alliances and bargain and negotiate to get what they want. Those politically motivated people usual bypass the chain of command to get approval and to sway decisions. At times, your office culture may feel like one big political game. However, navigating office politics is not complex if you understand the common types of “political players” and how to navigate office politics without compromising your career.

To help employees navigate the political landscape of their office, Accountemps identified six types of office politicians and how to handle them.

1. Gossip hound:This person is a know-it-all when it comes to what is happening around the office and isn’t afraid to share every detail with anyone.

They love spilling secrets to co-workers or sharing confidential information on social media.When dealing with a gossip hound, it is critical that employees keep their conversations related to business. If the conversation starts to drift to the personal lives of co-workers, try to exit the discussion as quickly as possible.

2. Credit thief: This person will do whatever it takes to get ahead, even if that means taking credit for someone else’s ideas. To avoid being the target of a credit thief in your workplace, speak up about your views and what you are working on in front of your co-workers. In addition, provide your boss with frequent updates so they never get confused about

who should be getting credit for your work.

3. The Flatterer: This person is easy to detect. He/she is the “yes please manager”, agreeing with every decision the boss makes and complimenting every action. As a rank and file, this employee bows and scrapes to the boss and always has the right words to say. Sooner than later, you will be able to tell when the flatter is disingenuous.

4.The Saboteur: In the world of politics, the saboteurs have opposition research. In the office, this person is a self-seeker who is skilled at making others look bad. He/she searches for dirt on employees and creates upset at the opportune time. If you experience a saboteur, confront the person early.

5. The Lobbyist: In government, the lobbyist’s objective is to sway the opinion of parliamentarians and garner support for his/ her cause. In the workplace, this staff is combative and has a reputation for swaying opinions in his/her favour.

A Lobbyist does not like to have his/ her opinions challenged. However, to thrive among lobbyists, you need to speak up when you disagree with their opinions. It may just be what they need to be opened to other ideas.

6.The Advisor: In government, a special advisor occupies a discrete role in providing advice to ministers that is more of a political nature. In the workplace, the advisor is often the person the CEO or management team confides in and turns to for assistance. It is within your best interest to befriend the advisor, since that person will have inside information of what’s going on and is very influential among the powers that be.

Join us again next week for more information on how to successfully navigate office politics.

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