Office Politics and Office Bullying- What to do?

Office Politics and Bullying Workshop


No place is devoid of office politics but it is important to work place culture and work place politics are not the same. Work place culture is organizational values through actions and behavior at a work place and these behaviors are desirable. Work place politics is the way of working that may or may not be accepted in an organization.

Backstabbing, gender politics, bullying, gossip, favoritism, sucking up, blame games can take office politics into many forms. Professional rivalry within an organization can turn really ugly resulting in politicking, bitching amongst others.


These are strategies that people play to gain an advantage, personally or for a cause they support. Thus this affects the working relationship and the relationships within. Good office politics can help you to promote yourself and your cause and is more often called networking. To ensure your own success you must navigate the minefield of office politics.

Reaso0ns  for its occurrence:

  • Some people have more power than others through hierarchy or influence.
  • People trying to gain promotion will create competition between individuals.
  • Some care about their decisions at work which will create political behavior.
  • Decisions impacted at work by work related and personal factors leads to conflict.
  • People and teams within organizations compete for limited resources which can lead to ‘tribal conflict’ resulting in competing teams to satisfy their needs and interests.

What you need to do.

Accept the reality of office politics and develop strategies in how to deal with the behavior that is going on around you.




  • Who has influence
  • Those with influence but don’t use it.
  • Those that champions or mentors others
  • Who are the brains behind the organize


You will a good idea of who has power and influence but you need to understand how social networking starts.

Therefore notice

  • Who gets on with whom
  • Any groups or cliques in the organization
  • Who is involved in interpersonal conflict
  • Those individuals that get along the least with others
  • What is the basis of these relationships: friendship. Respect, manipulation
  • How does the influence flow between parties

This will:

  • Gain you access to information
  • Build visibility of your achievements
  • Improve any difficult relationships
  • Attract opportunities where you can shine
  • Seek ways to make yourself, your team, and your boss look good


  • Get to know politically powerful people in the company
  • Establish relationships with your peers, bosses and executives and those who have informal power
  • Build your relationships on  trust and respect NOT flattery
  • Stay friendly with everyone but don’t align yourself with any particular group
  • Become part of many networks, this will keep you at the center of the organization

TIP- Become a good listener as human nature likes those people that listen


‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ applies perfectly to office politics

  • Get to know everybody better, be courteous BUT watch what you say to them.
  • Understand what motivates them and what their goals are, so we counter the impact of their negative politicking
  • Some people who aren’t too strong with their talents use aggressive politicking to get ahead.
  • Being SELF AWARE is an important skill to have in navigating workplace politics eg your strengths and weaknesses , your own beliefs and values


Pointers to watch out for to avoid the same mistakes and pitfalls as others have.

  • Never publicly criticize your boss or co-worker, it’s the best way to stay in the clear.
  • If you hear something on the negative through the grapevine, listen to it without getting emotional or losing your temper.
  • Don’t pass on or engage in gossip. Questionable judgements, consider first if you have to act.
  • Rise above internal conflicts or get sucked into arguments
  • Maintain your integrity and remain professional
  • Be positive and avoid whining and complaining
  • Be confident and assertive but not aggressive
  • If you voice an objection make sure it is from the organizational and not personal standpoint
  • Don’t rely on confidentiality as you should assume these will be disclosed somewhere along the line
  • Become a model of integrity and discourage politics
  • Hold on to your inner peace and happiness-give it up for no one
  • Avoid taking sides but become a good listener and don’t pass on what you hear.
  • Project team spirit
  • Treat others as you want to be treated


  • Don’t respond to gossip emails form peers or subordinates
  • Clarify your bosses emails and copy to their boss in reply
  • Do not send an email you would not be happy with (read several times before sending).


Do you feel regularly intimidated, dread going to work or being near a particular co worker, being yelled at or you feel insulted and put down. Do you feel talked over by a colleague in meetings, criticized and even stealing credit for your work. Then the chances are there is an office bully at your work.


  • You need personal courage and confidence to stop this as soon as you realize you are being bullied or events are becoming uncomfortable and too frequent
  • Exercise your right to tell the bully to stop this behavior and you won’t put up with this in the future. You are dealing with an adult with a tantrum.
  • Do this is a calm, tactful and assertive manner (it may be a good idea to practice this with a friend at home to make you feel comfortable)
  • Document all actions of the bullying, taking note of what happened, when it happened and who witnessed this if possible.
  • Keep all emails or correspondence to back up your evidence.
  • Observe it from their perspective and why this person’s behavior drives them to act like this. Do they do this with others? Or is it just you!
  • Is it that you are under attack or is there something else going on? How did it start? Is there a pattern? Think what exactly is going on and whether you want to stick around or not. If you don’t get what you deserve, then leave
  • Is the office bully always aggressive and recall how the situations occur. Sometimes the person has personal issues at home, with other colleagues or is stressed. This is no excuse and has nothing to do with you. But it may help you understand the heart of the problem and how to deal with it.
  • Listen to your intuition-fight or flee
  • Alternative-What is the culture here, Is it individually focused and sympathetic to the employee. Do your bosses care about you? What is the HR reputation eg do they help people confidentially and support them. Do you feel the bullying is ingrained in the workplace environment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s