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Dealing with office politics: How to get along with colleagues

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Workplaces around the world are filled with different personalities, attempting to work together in order to achieve common goals and attain success. Whether you’re based out of a corporate serviced office space in Richmond or a casual coworking hub in Staunton, navigating and managing different personality profiles can, at times be a bit if a minefield. Whilst this may seem to be a simple task, there is often a high level of struggle involved. Commonly called office politics, the interactions among staff members in an office can be quite difficult to traverse. Here is a quick guide to ensuring you stay calm when navigating the rough waters of office politics.

Be thoughtful and respectful

Engaging in the office rumor mill is the easiest way to get on the bad side of your colleagues. You need to remember that, whilst gossip may seem to be a tempting way to make the day more entertaining, it has very real and damaging effects on the individuals discussed. At the end of the day, you have been employed to do your job well, not to make friends and be the most popular person. If you become too wrapped up in office gossip, you will get a reputation as untrustworthy. This reputation can negatively impact your work life as people will begin to distrust you. Additionally, engaging in negative office gossip has the potential to, in extreme circumstances, result in a workplace dispute or disciplinary action. Take the high road and focus on the work at hand. Keeping everything professional will ensure you stay out of office drama and ultimately result in you doing better work.

Learn the office quirks

Every office has these quirks. Those little things that cause tension (or joy) among your coworkers. Some offices love to have a weekly coffee and donuts day, while others may see such a celebration as an unhealthy temptation, or a waste of time. You must read the room and figure out what makes your office tick. Whilst the quirks might seem petty, they can be important to some people and serve as a vital pillar of their day. You can’t know every little detail about each person in the office, but getting a general idea of likes and gripes can help you devise quirks that the majority of employees may enjoy. You don’t necessarily need to discontinue any old office traditions, as this, in itself can lead to mutiny amongst the ranks, instead encourage inclusion.

Be a team player

Always looking out for yourself can get you in trouble. If you are busy being focused on your own needs, it can be hard to consider the needs of those around you. Running on your own agenda makes you look selfish and unhelpful, which can cause issues. Instead, make sure you are considerate of other people’s goals and deadlines. Try and find that balance that makes you available to help others whilst simultaneously allowing you to finish your own deadlines. Being helpful and ready to support your team creates a sense that you are a positive asset to your office. It will also stand you in good stead, at times when you may need a little assistance from your fellow coworkers. Being a team player can give you the credibility you need to gain a trustworthy and positive office reputation.

Follow the strategic vision

Often work priorities get lost in personal priorities. If you find yourself representing your personal agenda more often than doing what you are told, then you might need to reevaluate your approach. It’s tempting to go with your gut and lead the charge that you think will work out best. Sometimes that is the right approach, but often you will get into trouble for ignoring orders and working above your level. Being ambitious is admirable and providing your input is important, however, paying attention to your superiors and other team members, whilst adhering to the business values is of paramount importance when working towards a unified goal.

Whenever you are inclined to go rogue, make sure what you are doing is best for your office’s strategic vision and mission. You should ask yourself what the point of the assignment is, and whether your idea will help the project in the long run. If you are constantly doing whatever you want, then you are going to get a reputation for not respecting authority, something that’s far from ideal. Making the best decisions to further the office’s strategic vision will help you to make better moves and avoid office conflicts.

Peer relationships really can be deal breakers when it comes to retaining staff. Positive and productive relationships in the office can elevate mundane jobs, so it is advisable to try and bring a complimentary attitude to the workplace. Try not to play into the politics of the office and allow it to make you negative. Positivity breeds positivity and the more you enjoy your job, the more successful you will be.