Wading Through the Pitfalls of Office Politics – Top Ten Pitfalls to Avoid
Some people would love to star in a TV reality show. But the workplace isn’t the proper place to star in a reality show. To stay on track for job security and potential promotion you need to maintain the correct profile at work. You need to stay out of the daily drama that has the potential to swallow you up if you aren’t on your guard. There are some common sense steps everyone should take to keep them out of the potential chaos of office politics. Here are my top ten:
- Keep personal matters out of the work place. Gossip isn’t a hobby you should take up. Keep conversations on business matters.
- Make it your business to stay out of other people’s business. Definitely show genuine concern about the workers in your workplace, without prying into others’ personal matters.
- Keep in mind that anything you say even in confidence can and may be told to anyone in the workplace. If you don’t want information spread in the work place don’t divulge it to anyone.
- A work friend today may not be a work friend tomorrow. Relationships can change quickly, be prepared. Don’t bare your soul if you don’t want it potentially opened up to the entire workplace.
- Keep a positive attitude. Perceptions about people are usually built in less than 60 seconds. Your positive attitude can deflect the potential for people to develop negative perceptions about you.
- Always listen more than you talk. Avoid misunderstandings by first understanding the full extent of the issues being discussed. Remember once you’ve spoken it’s public.
- Don’t be afraid to bring up business related topics or suggestions. You add individual value when you bring up quality information and ideas. Just make sure you present it in a clear unbiased manner so you don’t offend other coworkers. Saying to your supervisor, “The shipping department is inefficient.” is not clear and unbiased. Saying, “I’ve come across some interesting new shipping software that can streamline the shipping process. Can I provide you with more details? What do you think?” is clear and unbiased.
- Don’t talk about politics or other controversial issues at work. Religion, gun laws, or right to life issues should be kept off the discussion plate, unless they are part of what you do as part of your job description.
- Be aware of people’s space and don’t over step their boundaries. Take time to get to know your coworkers to get a feel for what they want to talk about and what topics they consider to be personal and off limits. Each person has their own boundaries.
- Always maintain professional decorum. Humor, joking and light conversation has its place in the workplace in moderation. Always make sure that comments aren’t made that ridicule, demean or negatively affect another coworker.
Keep in mind that the work place is just that a place to get work done. Always maintain an air of professionalism, keep defined boundaries, and think before you disclose information to others. Save your personal persona for your day off.