The lush green lawns of a resort in Goa soothes my eyes. The swaying palm trees, riot of colours - red, pink, white, orange on the bougainvillea trees, birds twittering , the clear blue water of the sea splashing on the white sands of Varca beach ... is this heaven on earth ?
What if everyday I could be as relaxed and happy as I am today ? I sigh ...
Is it possible to feel such serenity and calmness at work ? I wonder ...
Whether you like it or not, at work, you just have to deal with politics.
Plato has said, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
So, dear readers, instead of groaning and moaning, find some tips which you can keep handy.
- Sell yourself : I am not talking about taking credit for others work or bragging without actually doing any tangible work. Give 100% to your job, work diligently and sincerely , with full ownership and responsibility. But while you do so, also talk about it. At the right time and place and to the right person, tell about your achievements and effort. Sell your hard work and skills. Talk about your contributions before some political bully steals the show. Do not make the mistake of believing that people will notice your contribution even if you do not talk about it. Seek out ways to make yourself, your boss and team look good !
- Do not react : Your political adversaries , specially your peers or one rung senior to you will try to provoke you at the drop of a hat. The political people know very well what gels with the people at the top and what does not. They will try to put you down during controversial meetings or any such interaction. They hardly miss any chance. Do NOT react. Try to maintain a stoic face during such encounters. Don't give your opponent the pleasure of gauging your emotions. Once you have collected yourself, thought logically , then act. Give them back on a subtle manner. Make your point but in a cool and calm way. This sometimes angers the opponent and they start rambling. Let them ramble. When they finish, say "Can I talk now ? " If they interrupt, cut them off saying "Let me finish first ... " . This usually shuts them off. By that time, you are cool and composed. This is one skill which I am still learning from my husband. It is very very difficult for people like me who have a transparent face !
- Build informal Relationships : Get to know the informal power centres of your organization Do you know who is respected and who are the real influencers ? Who gets along with whom ? Ensure you
have relationships that cross the formal hierarchy in all directions (peers,
bosses, executives). Start to build relationships with those who have the
informal power. Build your relationships on trust and respect – avoid empty
flattery. Be a part of multiple networks – this way you can keep your finger on
the pulse of the organization.
- Defuse the negativity : In one of my earlier post , I had written about "Love thy critics" (Click on the Yellow link) . Instead of the natural tendency of distancing from the political adversaries, do the opposite. Know what tickles them and what puts them off. Try to understand their psychology - what are their goals ? Be courteous to them, but always be
very careful what you say to them. Learn how to avoid or counter the impact of their
negative politicking. Be aware that these people are typically insecure and incompetent. That's why they rely on aggressive politicking to get ahead.
You might hate it but you will have to tackle it to have a say in what matters to you and the organization.
So, instead of shying away from it, let us take it by the horn and try to make it work for us rather than against us.
If we can at least start doing it, our everyday lives can become at least a bit like this lovely view out of my window .