Wherever enough people gather, there’s going to be politics. Not in the Democrat/Republican sense, but in the who’s-got-the-power sense. It’s not always obvious in an office when something political is happening or even who’s an office politician and who’s not. HRM Asia put together this handy field guide for spotting the politicians in our midst.
01. The Gossip Hound
You may not think of gossiping as a form of politics, but remember, information is power. Even better than knowing everyone’s secrets is being able to blurt them out at choice moments or online for fun or, worse, for political profit.
02. The Credit Thief
Hey, about that great thing you did? So-and-so says they did it, not you, and they just got a promotion because it was so good. Why are you growling?
03. The Saboteur
This person believes there’s only one person that matters: themselves. As a result, they’re cruelly critical, loyal to no one, and never make mistake — or so they say.
04. The Flatterer
Why, thank you, that’s very nice of you to say so. But, um, why are you saying it? Maybe you really mean all the nice things you say — that’s awesome. Or maybe you’re just buttering me up.
05. The Lobbyist
With a gift for strategy, the lobbyist knows how to make everyone see things their way, never mind if they’re right or wrong. Watch out for their RDF: reality distortion field. Consider their logic very carefully and slowly before signing on with everyone else.
06. The Adviser
When you have the ear of management, as an adviser naturally does, you hold a unique kind of power. Understand that they may be the boss’s eyes and ears throughout the office, and filter your behavior accordingly, no matter how much they seem like just another employee.
It’s not that office politicians are all bad people. Politics is, at its heart, how groups of people get things done. The key is a person’s motivation. You’re probably an angel, of course. And you’ve now been warned about those who aren’t.