We’ve all been there – minding our own business, working a big project, all systems are go, and from out of nowhere, there’s a little shove, and you find yourself *gasp* under the bus . . . again! This time, before you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, blow off some steam, shed a tear or two, sit back and observe your surroundings…
Of course we’re not talking about a physical bus or a murder attempt. We’re talking about corporate politics, and how to proactively manage that. Consider doing the following, whether or not you’ve just been pushed under the bus, whether you were the push-er, the push-ee, the instigator or the innocent bystander.
Accept that Politics Exists
1. Accepting that politics is a way of life when you’re working with people is part of the solution. Those who resent politics and those who participate in it may be more likely to be victims of it. How do you feel about politics in the workplace in general? How will a more accepting attitude help you manage the politics around you.
2. Know the landscape. What is the political landscape like for your team, division and company? How are you currently participating in it? How do you currently respond to it when it takes place?
3. What does it look like, feel like, smell like, taste like to be under the bus?
Delineate What You Can and Can’t Change
4. How much of the current situation can be attributed to you, yourself, and what you did now or in the past?
5. How much of what happened are the result of a specific other person or people?
6. How much is related to conflict within or between teams?
7. How much is just endemic with the company you’re in?
Play the Game When You Can
8. Based on the people dynamics and the causation questions above, what can you change and what must you accept? Of the things that you can change, what’s the plan to change things and who needs to be involved?
9. Of the things that you can’t change, what can you do to manage your emotions and actions around it? Is it worth staying where you are with what you’re doing if those things can’t be changed?
10. Looking at the shorter term and longer term impact of the political games around you, who needs to get involved? Who or what needs to be managed? What can you do to be more successful?
We hope that the questions above will help you to accept the inevitability of politics and take a broader view on how to manage the navigate it. What did we miss? What shouldn’t be there? Share your stories and feedback by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.