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Every workplace has its share of politics and conflicts which tend to affect the work environment and relationships between employees negatively.

Here are some guidelines to help you manage office politics and conflicts in the best way possible:

Analyse the situation. Identify formal and informal power networks and people who influence decisions according to their positions of authority, expertise or seniority. Determine their preferences and priorities, as well as their management and communication styles and adapt accordingly without compromising your principles and integrity.

Build relations. Have cordial relationships with all your colleagues; those who are important in the organisation and even those who are not as influential. Don’t let personal prejudices affect working relationships; be polite and steer clear of controversial people in the workplace.

Keep communications diplomatic. Do not let your emotions/temper get the better of you and remain neutral in all situations. Be tactful and use diplomatic phrases, especially when tackling an awkward situation. Make sure your communications, verbal and non verbal, are not biased. Remember, in most instances it is better to listen more and talk less.

Be competent. Always do your best at work and give 100% to your responsibilities. A competent and valuable member of the team is less likely to be dragged into politics or pressured into taking sides. So keep doing your work and be aware of those who try to manipulate and provoke.

The last resort. When office politics become overwhelming, don’t be afraid to confide in, and take advice from, a mentor. If the situation becomes extremely uncomfortable you may want to consider making a respectful exit from the department or organisation but only as a last resort. Remember, we can only manage our own behaviour.

–  Muhammad Muneeb Kidwai
The writer is trainer, teacher, author and coach at The Change Agency. info@thechangeagency.com.pk

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on Monday June 24, 2012.