Office Politics: How to Come out on Top

Aug 23, 2012, 07:00 ET from RANDSTAD CANADA

Randstad Canada provides a few tips to navigate office politics with confidence

TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Like it or not, office politics exist in every workplace. Whether you feel comfortable dealing with these situations or whether you aim to avoid them, Randstad Canada, the country's leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services, emphasizes the importance of learning how to handle them in a positive and constructive way and offers helpful tips when dealing with this potentially destructive workplace dynamic.

According to Jan Hein Bax, President, Randstad Canada, office politics are part of every organization. "People move through their careers with different and sometimes conflicting goals and motivations. This can lead to conflict or competition in the workplace but, through confident and respectful action, someone from any level within a company can help build the type of positive work environment that invites open communication and team work," he says.

Bax offers some tips below to help you navigate through the murky waters of office politics.

  • Watch and learn. Take the time to observe around you. Who are the key influencers? Who are the decision makers? Who are the informal leaders? How are the decisions made, by a few key stakeholders, or by consensus? What are the key factors that will drive a project to fail or to succeed? What are the styles of communication used? Direct, formal, factual, etc.? Answering these questions will give you clear roadmap of what you need in order to accomplish your business goals

  • Make connections. Once you have a better idea of who the key players are, make connections, at all levels, both through the formal and informal networks. Being part of various networks will ensure you develop a broad perspective of the organization.

  • Be trustworthy. Building trust can take a while, but losing it can happen in a minute and can cause irreparable damage. Hone in on your listening skills, as those will help you get a better sense of underlying issues, hidden motivations, and will help you establish a "give and take'' type of interaction with your colleagues.

  • Stay away from dodgy strategies. Be aware that some people will use questionable strategies to get ahead. Learn to detect those behaviours and don't give in to rumours, judgments and interpretations without carefully evaluating all the angles of a story. In that same respect, choose carefully which pieces of information you will give out and to whom.

  • Find solutions. If you disagree with a decision or a process, bring a new perspective or solution to the table, rather than complain about it. Keep in mind the organization's objectives, and highlight how it will benefit the company, not you. Communicate your message in an assertive way, without being aggressive. Show that you have done your homework through thorough research; this will earn you more respect than a flashy presentation.

  • Gain visibility through your accomplishments. Find ways to promote your own successes, and keep an eye out for projects that could be a great opportunity to challenge yourself and to grow.

  • Maintain integrity. Respect your commitments, stay professional and courteous at all times, even with the people you are wary of, and encourage a collaborative mindset within your team.

About Randstad Canada: Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. Visit