6 Ways to Deal With Workplace Politics as a New Executive

6 Ways to Deal With Workplace Politics as a New Executive was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Every workplace has some degree of politics since workers have unique beliefs, ethics, and opinions. As a new executive, you are now in a position where you need to mitigate this issue to prevent conflict between colleagues. You must also watch your interactions with other executives to maintain boundaries and avoid tension.

While handling workplace politics is vital, it isn’t easy, especially once you become an executive. Other employees look up to you, so you should set a good example and use strategies that won’t cause fear or affect collaboration.

Here are some practical tips for dealing with workplace politics.


1️⃣ Maintain a Professional Relationship With Your Colleagues

Other executives may want you to be part of their inner circles now that you have relatively equal power. There’s no harm in going out with them for happy hour or joining their clubs, but you need some boundaries to navigate workplace politics.

Maintain a professional bond with other employees and avoid oversharing your personal life. Don’t give others too much information about you as they may use it for power play. Set clear boundaries by avoiding gossip no matter how juicy it is. You can also try wearing headphones when working if you struggle to brush off unprofessional conversations.

Manipulation is a common tactic for climbing the career ladder. Some people trick others into doing their bidding to achieve their goals faster. Maintaining your ethics will guard your new role and protect you from the harmful effects of workplace politics. Respect every person’s position and avoid the temptation to exploit your power.

Taking credit for other people’s work and ideas can stain your relationships at work. Appreciate each employee’s effort by giving them credit when it’s due. If they work on a shared project, thank everyone for their input instead of praising the team leader only. This way, you will prevent favoritism and avoid resentment that may trigger backstabbing.

Other ways to maintain professional relationships include:

  • Ensure employees follow the workplace structure
  • Create time to build relationships with employees at all ranks
  • Be transparent when communicating with other workers

2️⃣ Try to Neutralize Rumors

Rumors are a significant cause of conflict and negative politics in workplaces. Instead of fueling them, always pass information from credible sources. If you doubt some details going around the office, confirm they are accurate before sharing them.

As a new executive, you will now be responsible for some company secrets. For example, you may be aware that someone will get a promotion before they even receive the good news. You might also know your company is merging with another or securing a new client. Be careful about sharing such information before it’s officially released, as it may land you in trouble if decisions change.


3️⃣ Improve Your People Skills

Strong people skills can come in handy when dealing with office politics. They help you understand what motivates people to be more productive and efficient. They enable you to control your behavior when in uncomfortable situations. Good interpersonal skills will also allow you to stay on good terms with employees you don’t like.

One people skill you’ll need to navigate office politics is emotional intelligence. Pick up on other people’s emotions and avoid being influenced negatively. For example, if an employee makes a mistake, don’t scold them. Instead, correct them calmly, then offer the needed guidance and time to fix the error.

Taking such steps will protect employees from humiliation. It shows you care and helps you build better relationships. In the long run, you can avoid hostility and vengeance.

Here are other people skills to help you handle workplace politics:

  • Good judgment
  • Active listening
  • Conflict resolution
  • Persuasiveness
  • Staying open-minded
  • Supporting and motivating others

4️⃣ Build a Positive Culture at the Workplace

Lack of trust and unhealthy ambitions trigger workplace politics. Employees who don’t trust each other or their seniors will spend most of the time watching their backs instead of working. They will also be skeptical about sharing their ideas or working with others, fearing betrayal.

Creating a positive culture at your workplace can help you deal with unhealthy politics. Boost engagement by accepting and encouraging feedback. Besides, give employees a sense of community by forming resource groups where they can voice their concerns and contribute towards positive change.

Employees want leaders who care about their needs beyond the workplace. They need an executive who can empathize with issues in their personal life and encourage them to deliver better results.

Prioritize your employee’s mental health to maintain a positive workplace atmosphere. Give them reasonable deadlines for projects and avoid micromanaging. Likewise, share resources fairly to grant everyone an equal chance to grow and succeed.

Taking such measures will improve satisfaction and help you maintain happy teams. It allows workers to feel proud of their work and promotes healthy competition.


5️⃣ Use Your Network to Your Favor

Even as an executive, you can’t always control or influence what other employees do. Some workers will try to use malicious ways to gain an advantage, which can be a bad look for their leader.

Use your network to know everything going on in different departments and mitigate wrong motives. Rely on established relationships to access new opportunities for your team. Likewise, use the network to ally with other employees that aren’t in your corner.

With the right connections, you can lobby other employees to support your ideas. Stakeholders may also notice your effort and offer better incentives or leadership roles.


6️⃣ Be Politically Intelligent

Workplace politics isn’t always negative; you can sometimes use it in your favor. If you practice political intelligence, you will meet your goals without harming others. It’s also possible to exercise your new power to your favor and grow your career further.

Identify the executives with the most influence in the company. After that, determine what you can do to prove you’re invaluable. Once you figure this out, stay in their good graces without overexerting yourself. This strategy will help you achieve career success without playing dirty politics.


Take Control of Your New Role

You’ve landed a leadership position, so it’s time to use it to propel your company’s goals and your career. Playing work politics can be helpful for employees if they practice awareness and empathy. Still, you must regulate some affairs to ensure fairness and maintain a healthy work environment.

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By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.