Office Politics–how to thrive in a world of lying, backstabbing and dirty tricks

Oliver James has done a good piece to help office goers. People who cause more harm in work fall under traits involving Psychopathy, Machiavellianism or Narcissism. Rate the following traits from 1 to 5 from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

  1. Tend to exploit and trick others for self-advancement
  2. Use lies and deception to get their way
  3. Use ingratiation to get their way
  4. Manipulate others for selfish reasons
  5. Tend not to feel regretful and apologetic after having done wrong
  6. Tend not to worry about whether their behavior is ethical
  7. Lacking empathy and crassly unaware of the distress they cause others
  8. Have pretty dim view of humanity, attributing nasty motives and selfishness
  9. Be hungry for admiration
  10. Want to be center of attention
  11. tend to take it for granted that other people will make extra effort to help them’

More than 25 out of max 60 fall in any one above categories and they abound in our office environment. So you need to cultivate a couple of strategies to overcome and thrive in office politics:

  1. The importance of acting: Simulate appropriate emotions and be adept at office politics with less emotional labor
  2. Astuteness: Have the radar to pick signals early and react accordingly to situations. Understand innate needs, roadblocks and solve them for your colleagues and bosses.
  3. Ingratiation: if you need something from someone, make them feel good, they are more likely give you what you want.
  4. Chameleonism: It is the mirroring of another’s mannerisms or speech pattern back to them, and in most cases, whatever ingratiatory tactic is employed, be it flattery, charm or some kind of inducement )professional or personal) a measure of chameleonism is usually essential. It could be applied in any situation, a boss to subordinate or the reverse.  To have a friendly minutes with them is a good strategy towards that. Chit chat after office hours, letting them talk more with open ended questions, participating in their talk is good.
  5. Flattery: You have to find something about the other person that genuinely admire, the it sounds likely to be more true than deliberate which may lead to your downfall.
  6. Favor Rendering: A simple and fundamental ingratiation method is to do favors for colleagues, actions that help them which are not required as part of your role (‘favor-rendering).
  7. Assertiveness: This entails actions like making demands, setting deadlines and checking up on others. Being assertive indicates that you are not prepared to back down and that you understand alternative views, but are not swayed by them. The astute are better able to read with whom to be assertive, when and where. Most of the risk attached to assertiveness is when it is attempted with superiors insisting on your position with a a boss is unwise if it is clear that, however they may be, they have decided on the course they are going to take. Whilst it may be strategically sensible tin the long run to have registered your opposition to a plan, so that if it goes wrong, there is a record that you showed your disagreement, that is all assertiveness may be able to achieve.
  8. Self-promotion: skillfully executed self-promotion produces admiration and higher valuation by bosses. What I more there are risks attached to not doing it: your worth may be underestimated because it is unnoticed. Make sure it doesn’t run into risk of seeming boastfulness.
  9. Feedback seeking, reputation building and networking also to be pursued.

 

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