Break The Chains and Win Over Corporate Politics to Accelerate Your Success

May 1, 2023


‘I try to do an honest job, but I am not sure about him – he plays politics’.

Aren't you always frustrated by the office politics you face on a daily basis?

Today, I am going to deal with this question once and for all. This question is so frequently asked by my mentees, that I thought to help every subscriber here.

Office politics are an unfortunate yet inevitable part of any workplace. They can often leave you feeling frustrated, stressed, and stuck. As a career coach, I've encountered countless mentees struggling to cope with this aspect of their jobs. If you're one of them, don't worry – you're not alone! 


In this blog post, I'll share some practical tips and strategies to help you navigate office politics and thrive in your career.

When dealing with politics, you are bound to be confused and feel pressured. You might feel burned out and stressed all the time, which also affects your personal life. 

What generally happens is that we don't know how to deal with such scenarios. And often have questions like : 

  • How can I recognize and avoid engaging in political behaviours that may be harmful to my career and relationships with colleagues?
  • Are there any resources, such as books or courses, that can help me better understand and navigate office politics?
  • How can I assert myself and communicate effectively in a workplace with political manoeuvring?
  • What are some techniques to manage conflicts and resolve issues that arise due to office politics?

In 2020, a study showed that 79% of British adults in employment experienced work-related stress, a 20% increase from 2018. Office politics was the top cause of work-related stress (37%), followed by a lack of interdepartmental communication (34%), and others' work performance (33%). 

The age group most affected by office politics was 45-54, while those aged 25-34 found the lack of interdepartmental communications most stressful.

One must be able to correctly identify “WHAT IS OFFICE POLITICS?"

Let's find out what you think is office politics and what actually is with two stories I am going to share with you:

STORY 1 : 


Tom, Lisa, and James were part of a team led by their boss, Sarah. Tom had a habit of taking leave from work to meet his girlfriend, often leaving Lisa to handle his responsibilities. Lisa had access to Tom's emails, confidential documents, and even his passwords. Tom's interactions with Sarah were minimal, with Lisa being the primary contact in his absence.

Eventually, Tom lost his job, as Lisa had managed to tarnish his reputation with Sarah. However, Tom's mistakes contributed to his downfall:

He gave Lisa the authority to check his emails.

He neglected his relationship with Sarah, his boss.

He allowed Lisa to access his confidential documents.

Tom's situation highlights the importance of setting boundaries in professional relationships. It's crucial to know who to trust and who to keep at arm's length. While maintaining cordial relationships with colleagues is essential, one must never cross certain lines or share personal secrets with everyone.

STORY 2 : 


In his first job, Alex had a senior coworker whom they didn't like very much. This senior was not his manager, but he found it difficult to appreciate him.  Because whenever he had to meet his boss, the senior would go alone, leaving Alex behind.

Alex did speak to their boss occasionally, but it was never about their work or discussing ideas. It seemed to Alex that the senior was trying to prevent them from getting any credit or having any impact on their boss's opinion of them, which was generally positive.

For a long time, Alex held a grudge against this senior coworker, thinking that he was deliberately undermining him. Preventing him from showing their boss how capable he was. One day, Alex mustered the courage to confront the senior and share his feelings about being excluded from meetings with the boss. 

The senior listened patiently, not appearing judgmental or dismissive.

Then, the senior revealed something Alex had not anticipated. 

He explained that he had been keeping Alex away from the boss because their boss had a temper and often lost it easily. 

The senior coworker worried that if their boss criticised Alex's work harshly, it could damage Alex's self-confidence and motivation, especially since they were still new to the company. As someone who had been with the company for a long time, the senior coworker understood the boss's temperament and how it could be misinterpreted by a young employee like Alex.

The senior coworker wanted Alex to first focus on their work, build their skills and confidence, and only then be exposed to the boss's critiques. 

Now,  tell me which of the following cases happened to you. I am sure, one way or another, you must have encountered such scenarios. So you must learn to draw a line.

When you read about office politics, did you only think about "backstabbing," spreading malicious rumours, and "Buttering up" to the right people? 

Office politics is an INTEGRAL part of work culture because it arises NATURALLY. When diverse personalities work together, they have different goals and interests. Removing it from work is next to impossible. Although often seen as negative, office politics can have positive aspects that contribute to a healthy and productive work environment. 

But what can be done is REGULATE politics to a manageable level.


Before going more into the topic, let's BUST some myths about office politics too:

Myth: Good people don't engage in office politics.

Fact: Engaging in office politics doesn't make someone a bad person. It's a natural part of human interaction and essential for workplace success.

Myth: Office politics can be entirely avoided.

Fact: Politics is an inevitable part of any work environment where multiple people are involved. Rather than avoiding it, one should learn to navigate it effectively.

Myth: Politics have no impact on job performance or career progression.

Fact: Office politics can directly or indirectly influence decisions related to job assignments, promotions, and overall career growth. Being aware of and managing politics effectively can benefit one's career.

Myth: Virtual work environments eliminate politics.

Fact: Even in virtual work environments, politics still exist. Interactions and communication still occur, albeit through different channels, and understanding the dynamics remains important.

Myth: Political intelligence is an inherent trait that cannot be developed.

Fact: Political intelligence can be learned and improved over time. It involves developing skills like active listening, observing, understanding, and empathizing with others, as well as adjusting one's actions to achieve desired outcomes.


EXAMPLES of office politics can be divided into negative and positive behaviours.

Negative political behaviours may consist of:

  • Betraying a coworker
  • Coercing a colleague
  • Creating harmful alliances against other team members
  • Spreading gossip or rumours about others
  • Deliberately withholding vital information

Positive political behaviours can involve:

  • Volunteering for tasks or projects
  • Maintaining a professional demeanour
  • Complimenting and acknowledging others' contributions

This blog is not about an in-depth understanding of the reasons. This is about giving you BULLETS to fire up against office politics. But I will give FIVE basic reasons why people get involved in politics:

  1. Attention-seeking without effort
  2. Personal relationships influencing work
  3. Lack of trust among colleagues
  4. Jealousy and competition
  5. Favouritism and bias

Well, I have many such methods to cope with office politics. I am just giving you points so that you should always keep them in the back of your MIND. You might never know when, unintentionally you are playing the part you don't want to PLAY.

  • Diffuse the BOMB

Do not ever try to FUEL THE FIRE. You can make a workplace more positive. Avoid being the link in a chain of rumours. If you don't know the source, do not proceed with the information. And don't rely on confidentiality. It's safer to assume that whatever you say will be repeated, so choose carefully what "secrets'' you reveal. Avoid taking sides, and be NEUTRAL. Make sure that you take an organizational perspective, and not simply a selfish one.

  • UNDERSTAND the landscape:

Understand the dynamics at play in your workplace. Identify the KEY PLAYERS, their roles, and the relationships between them. This will help you recognize the power structures and alliances that exist, allowing you to make informed decisions when interacting with your colleagues.

  • Build your NETWORK:

Developing a strong professional network is crucial for dealing with office politics. Having a support system of trusted colleagues can provide you with valuable insights, advice, and even protection from political fallout. Focus on building relationships with people from different departments and hierarchical levels, as this can help you gain a broader perspective on the company's political landscape.

  • Choose your BATTLES WISELY :

It's important to know when to engage in office politics and when to stay out of it. Engaging in every issue or conflict can leave you drained and reduce your credibility among your peers. Choose your battles wisely, and only get involved in situations that directly affect your work or align with your values.

  • Maintain your INTEGRITY:

When you're faced with office politics, it can be tempting to resort to similar tactics as others. However, it's important to maintain your integrity and uphold your values. Always be honest, transparent, and professional in your dealings with colleagues. This will not only help you gain the respect of your peers, but it will also protect your reputation in the long run.

  • PRACTISE emotional intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage, and express your emotions effectively. In a politically charged environment, having strong emotional intelligence can be a valuable asset. It enables you to empathize with others, communicate effectively, and respond to conflicts in a constructive manner. Work on improving your emotional intelligence by actively listening to others, managing your emotions, and being aware of your own biases. People like people who listen to them.

  • Stay FOCUSED on your goals:

In the midst of office politics, it's easy to lose sight of your own career objectives. Remember to stay focused on your goals and prioritize your tasks accordingly. This will help you maintain your motivation and productivity, despite any political distractions.

  • Open to CHANGE:

Office politics can be unpredictable, and situations can change quickly. Being adaptable and open to change is essential for navigating these challenges. Be prepared to adjust your approach as needed and embrace new opportunities that come your way.

  • Embrace a SERVICE-ORIENTED mentality.

The grip of political environments will persist unless there's a shift in perspective. Moving away from self-centeredness and towards selflessness, embracing compassion, the desire to serve, and the ability to see the best in others, can make a difference. When one individual takes this approach, others around them may start to question why they feel differently. If many people adopt this mindset, a tipping point will be reached, and the political landscape may begin to fall apart.

  • Do NOT take REVENGE

When a colleague attempts to tarnish our reputation, it's common to feel resentment and contemplate retaliation. However, it's crucial to maintain composure and professionalism. Instead of seeking vengeance, focus on addressing the issue to prevent similar behaviour in the future. Try having a private conversation with the person to inquire about their motives. This approach may not only help you reconcile but also potentially transform them into a friend and ally.

Office politics may be an unavoidable aspect of working life, but that doesn't mean you can't learn to navigate them successfully. By understanding the landscape, building your network, maintaining your integrity, and practising emotional intelligence, you can thrive in a political workplace. Hope this article brings the change you were seeking.

Remember, your career success is ultimately in your hands – don't let office politics hold you back.

If you are struggling to navigate the complex world of office politics?  You're not alone. The workplace can be a challenging environment, but there's a solution.


Imagine being able to confidently handle any political situation that arises in the office.

As a career coach with experience helping professionals like you succeed, I can provide the guidance you need to handle office politics effectively.  

We'll discuss strategies for staying professional in the face of adversity, building healthy relationships, and ultimately creating a more positive work environment for yourself and your colleagues.

Take the first step towards a more successful and fulfilling career by reaching out to me today. Let's discuss how I can help you navigate office politics and achieve your professional goals. 

That's all I had for today. I will see you in my next post.