How where you sit changes how you act
“You are told there is one opening to become the team manager, and you are up for it. Do you yield to your peer, who is equally good and has more experience than you, or do you fight for the position?” This line deeply resonated for me. While this comment could go on much longer, I’ll just say I moved elsewhere and let what was going to happen anyway take its course, but at the time was deeply frustrated and felt powerless to confront both the improper incentives from leadership and standoffish-ness of my peer to what felt was a impasse in my career. While I believe absolutely that you’re right it may not be as bad as one thinks, sometimes I wonder if it just is, in which case the best possible approach is to find another path altogether?
In my experience, a lot of the perceived politics (or generally bad behaviour) can be quickly understood by attending a meeting with the ‘guilty’ person’s direct manager (or customer in case of sales/service roles).
You quickly figure out why your own manager is acting a certain way when you see the way their manager manages them. You quickly realise why a sales rep is playing ‘politics’ when you sit on a call with him and his angry customer.
A lot of the perceived politics is just smokes and mirrors. You’re not seeing what others are seeing, what they’re reacting to, and what they’re forced to get you to react to through this ongoing chain.
Doesn’t excuse everything, to be sure. At the very least it’s eye opening.
I would love to hear your thoughts on less benign office politics and how to screen prospective employers for it when interviewing. For example, say the person who gathered information refused to share it with colleagues and used it to his benefit at the expense of others, or politics resulting from a senior exec saying yes to her boss even though she knows it cannot be delivered and then throwing reports under the bus for not delivering? Like David, I wonder whether the only option in such workplaces is to find a new one.
When I was a little kid at Kindergarten, one girl bited my arm with her teeth. Why? Because she want my toy and unfortunately, I don't want to… I don't know why I still remember this, but as growing older, biting thing never happened to me again.
For office politics, is nicer thing that you don’t get physical hurts. No one bite you anyway. But, one thing simply put, if you own someone’s toy (presumably), you better hand it over to them peacefully.
If your answer is no, then you should not be surprised by some “politic” things.