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Office Politics

Huntsman

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It seems that no matter how "good" of a firm one works for, there are always quiet agendas, biases, grudges, and competitions -- the background in which office politics thrives. A paraphrase of Madison would have ambition pitting itself relentlessly against the ambitions of others: peers, managers, reports, and executives.

We have more than a few seasoned business types here: how do you best deal with, manage, or live with the political landscape? How do you work with individuals who act as if you threaten them when you don't intend to? How do you work well equally with individuals who dislike each other without annoying either party?

Generally, how do you deal? Discuss.
 

Piobaire

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When I was climbing the ladder, I had two main tools.

1) Smile and nod.
2) Whisky
 

Lord-Barrington

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1) Be as pleasant as possible to everyone. Staff, coworkers, janitors, whoever. It makes a huge difference for your image and it makes for a more pleasant workplace.

2) Build up a support network at your workplace. Have people who can vouch for you and your work. The more the better, even if they aren't head honchos.

3) If someone is trying to undercut you or stab you in the back, beat him to the punch and "discuss" the issue with a superior. That often diffuses the situation because the offending party loses the upper hand and has to explain himself/herself with little preparation. I've found that this works well.

4) Avoid ugly workplaces. Workplaces aren't all created equal. Make a conscious choice to work somewhere with an office culture that works well with your personality.
 

bunnyoswaldo

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--always take the high road

--be smart both in the work that you do and the moves that you make

--never get outworked

--figure out who the good people are above you and get noticed by them
 

Dakota rube

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^These are good ideals.
 

Bentley

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Be polite.
Work hard.
Do the best job you can.

If the workplace seems unhealthy, get out. In that sense, I think it's no different from any other relationship...In my experience, sticking around and hoping that others will change or that you can change them is usually a recipe for failure.
 

Reggs

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Fire all the women and 95% of office drama will disappear.
 

AlmostFullBenefits

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So basically follow the general rules of etiquette and be proactive, but honorable, about people who might be trying to sabotage your endeavors; makes sense. For me, the worst is dealing with passive aggressive people. If your office place is full of incompetence, nepotism and/or cronyism, the solution is simple: abandon ship. However, no matter where you go, you run into passive aggressive people.
 

Huntsman

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The consensus seems here to be the rule from Road House: "Always be nice, until its time to not be nice."
Originally Posted by Piobaire
When I was climbing the ladder, I had two main tools. 1) Smile and nod. 2) Whisky
Haha, I have one of those down.
Originally Posted by Reggs
Fire all the women and 95% of office drama will disappear.
Pretty much all testosterone in my department.
 

JayJay

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Originally Posted by Huntsman
The consensus seems here to be the rule from Road House: "Always be nice, until its time to not be nice."




Yep, so true. As SF member Douglas will tell you, I know how to be nice.
More seriously, treat people with respect and kindness, and earn the respect of others.
 

Piobaire

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Seriously, smile and nod. This makes everyone think you agree with them. If shit hits the fan, you can point out that you never endorsed the bad idea and when things succeed, you're viewed as having been a proponent.

It also works for people you have a problem understanding due to their accents.
 

Don Carlos

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Office politics will always occur, but the politicking will be at its most ferocious and ugly on the decks of a sinking ship. Do your homework and informational reach-outs at a company before accepting an offer there, and preferably, before even considering applying there. Avoid companies in bad runs or in shrinking markets. Avoid startups that have been around for a few years with no real momentum or growth behind them. Avoid "red-headed stepchild" departments or groups in larger organizations: for instance, the marketing department at a sales-driven company, or the enterprise sales group at a consumer software company. Avoid departments that have gone through a recent reorg or are on the verge of another one: such house-cleanings are usually symptoms of a broader problem, and beyond that, they tend to incite mad scrambles for power, resources, position, etc., after the dust has settled.

Basically, the best way to avoid poisonous people is to avoid poisonous places. That sounds trite, but it is so fucking true.

Make your calls, do your diligence, talk to people, read the financial reports, and so on. Nine times out of ten, you will be able to spot a poisonous environment bedore landing in one.
 

P. Bateman

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I work hard and am honest. I set realistic expectations for team members and if they're not met then there is a problem and I work with them to solve. I don't like playing games.
 

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