How to Avoid Office Politics

You may be getting into the upcoming Presidential election, but this shouldn’t be reason to become actively involved in office politics.

To be sure, engagement in the gossip, rumors, and backstabbing inherent with office politics probably won’t win you any type of positive recognition. So, how do you effectively focus on your job and overcome office politics? Here are four strategies to consider:

  • Always take the high road. While telling off a toxic co-worker might sound appealing, it won’t pay off. It only lowers you to their level of childish behavior, and if they are adept at office politics, they'll know how to turn your tirade against you with the bosses. They are not likely to change just because you throw a fit, so avoid being negative or you might make the situation worse for yourself.
  • Take comfort in your good character. You may not be able to overcome all office politics, but you should take pride in your ability to avoid this nonproductive game. Do your best to skip the water cooler when others are gossiping and backstabbing, and go out of your way to express your good intentions and sincerity.
  • Be strong. Stand firm when confronted by office politics (gossiping, cliques, backstabbing, rumors, etc). Focus on your tasks and goals for the day, and refrain from any type of emotional response. Those who participate in office politics often aim to beat others down. Don’t let them win!
  • Take charge. You can turn the tables on office politics by avoiding the underhanded things you dislike and instead doing things like supporting co-workers in little ways, asking the boss to mentor you and other similar actions that make the office a better place.

Of course, if office politics has truly gotten out of hand, always remember that you have the option to go to management or HR. If you can prove the behavior is undermining the bottom line and affecting morale and productivity, they should gladly listen to your concerns and take action.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
—Harold R. McAlindon