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Is office politics killing your productivity?

Office politics  a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace. In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships. There is no need to be afraid of office politics. From backstabbing bosses to co-workers who try to sabotage your work, relationships and power are tightly knit in the workplace. Many of us will be affected by office politics at some point: a third of workers dread going into work because of their colleagues, while it is estimated that three in four employees find their boss the most stressful part of their job.

So, if you are dealing with particularly sly co-workers, how can you manage the situation?

Don’t sink to their level

When colleagues try to make you look bad or undermine you, it’s tempting to do likewise. However, this can backfire: you may come across as petty, and is unlikely to change your boss or co-worker’s behaviour.

Document your time

When you are subject to colleagues’ political tactics – such as taking credit for your work – it’s important not to retaliate. “You need to be cleverer than that: “Make sure you document your work thoroughly and let co-workers and your bosses’ superiors know what you are doing and have done,” advises Williams. This protects your reputation: if your work ethic is called into question by colleagues, you then have a way to prove your productivity.

Make friends

To fix a toxic work culture, you need to get involved.  If one person at work is the main source of conflict, the best way to deal with them is to unite with your co-workers. This strategy also works with game-playing colleagues – people with bullying tendencies often try to isolate victims, so the more people you have on your side, the less likely you are to be taken advantage of at work.

The best way is to praise others, encourage teamwork and be empathetic to your co-workers. By making an effort to change the culture to one of kindness and honesty, you can create a better environment for everyone. For some people, the effort of attempting to navigate and even change poor office politics is too much of an uphill battle. If you try the tips above and still find your office a nightmare, there is a simpler option: ditch the co-workers entirely by working for yourself.

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