Office politics are the quickest way to kill productivity.
Take a happy, high-functioning team and throw in a dash of favoritism, trash talk, and secrecy, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster in which even the best performers can lose confidence, and engagement can rapidly dip.
Office politics are bound to arise, so to ensure you are able to navigate them without losing your cool, keep these four rules in mind:
Identify the source, assess the toxicity level, and forecast its timeline
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have these politics been in place for some time, or are they new?
- Do you expect them to be short-lived, or long-lasting?
- Does the issue surround a specific project, team, or policy that’s likely to soon change?
- Or is the problem related to a single person who’s shown no signs of leaving the team?
Your approach to handling the situation will depend on what the source of trouble is and how long you foresee it lasting. For instance, if a new boss has been brought in and created an unhealthy culture of favoritism on your team, you may find yourself in need of an exit strategy, and fast. But if the particular issue surrounds a three-month project, you may be able to use this one as a learning opportunity so that the next time a project like this comes up, you’ve shown you’re the right person for the job.
Slow down to control how you will react
In times of stress, it’s easiest to operate from a place of emotion and let your feelings get the best of you. If a situation or person at work is triggering an emotional response in you, your best bet is to pause, explore why this is setting you off, and make an assessment given what you know. What can you learn about yourself through this difficult situation?
Remember that you have a choice in how you respond. You have agency, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Things aren’t happening to you, but they are happening. Once you’ve had a chance to reflect, choose to engage from a place of objectivity, rather than emotion.
Seek help and avoid gossip
When it comes to office politics, there is a fine line to walk between providing helpful feedback or seeking input and sounding like a slighted employee. If you have a trusted mentor, peer, or manager, seek their help to navigate through this challenge, but exercise caution. You want to avoid name-calling, laying blame, spreading rumors, or otherwise presenting the issue in a way that suggests you haven’t given anyone the benefit of the doubt.
Instead, go into the conversation with an open mind. Others may have an alternate perspective on what’s happening, and may even point out flaws in your reasoning. If you’re looking for validation to make you feel better about the situation, save that for a different conversation (ideally, with someone you don’t work with, otherwise you’re just contributing to the swirl).
You’ll know you’re ready to seek help if you’re ready to receive tough feedback or advice that may make you uncomfortable, like empathizing with the person who has caused you the most distress. A neutral way to approach the conversation is to state facts–not your perceptions–and ask: “What would you do if you were in my position?”
Keep doing great work and foster existing connections
When the political churn comes to an end, you don’t want to be the person who got so caught up in it that they neglected their work, or completely withdrew from the situation. Be the person who kept doing their best and continued to build strong relationships, so no one has an excuse to question your contributions–even in an unsavory work environment.
While office politics exist in just about every environment, they don’t have to get the best of you. Using these four rules, you’ll be able to navigate just about any unpleasant political situation that comes your way. Though we may not always be able to avoid politics at work, we can equip ourselves to manage it, bounce back, and move on.
On Politics: Democrats Continue to Gain as More Midterm Races Are Finalized
Good Wednesday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.
• What seemed like a mixed midterm result for the G.O.P. has turned more grim as Democrats continue to pick up seats in the House and narrow the Republican hold on the Senate. Read about the stronger Democratic gains.
• President Trump is considering firing Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security who has long been a target of the president’s displeasure, according to three people close to him. Read about the staff shake-up.
• There were conflicting reports on Tuesday on whether Mira Ricardel, a deputy national security adviser, had been fired. But there is no question that the first lady, Melania Trump, no longer wants her at the White House.
• Mr. Trump issued a blistering personal attack against President Emmanuel Macron of France, and sought to defend his decision not to visit a cemetery of American soldiers while in France because of rain. Read more on his comments.
• With a recount underway in the Florida governor’s race, Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee, is back on the campaign trail a week after conceding the election. Though the outcome is unlikely to change, Mr. Gillum has made it clear he is not going away.
• Representative Kyrsten Sinema’s victory marked the first time a Democrat has been elected to the Senate from Arizona since 1988. Read more about Ms. Sinema, and here are six takeaways from her historic race.
• On an otherwise bleak election night for North Dakota Democrats, Ruth Buffalo became the first Native American Democrat elected to the state legislature, unseating the architect of the very law tribes had feared would disenfranchise them.
• As freshman orientation for new members of Congress began, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led activists in a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office. The move is an early notice to Democratic leaders that the new House may be divided.
• Despite a dismal election last week, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California looks set to become House minority leader. Read more about Mr. McCarthy — and his chances of securing the new role.
• For weeks before the midterms, Mr. Trump warned ominously about the threat from a caravan of migrants streaming toward the United States border. But only a week after the election, he has dropped the issue almost entirely.
• An independent bipartisan commission concluded in a sharply critical report that strained forces and budget shortfalls have cast doubt on the Pentagon’s strategy to confront global threats, in a challenge to Mr. Trump’s commitment to support a strong military.
• Mr. Trump’s trade war is stoking an internal fight among his top economic advisers, with officials sparring over the White House’s approach to dealing with China and other trading partners. Here’s more on the feuding.
Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Margaret Kramer in New York.
Check back later for On Politics With Lisa Lerer, a nightly newsletter exploring the people, issues and ideas reshaping the political world.
Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com.
Brexit deal: Tory ministers meet to decide fate of agreement – Politics live
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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Putting on Ayers
Today in 5 Lines
President Donald Trump is reportedly considering replacements for several senior-level administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Chief of Staff John Kelly. One name being floated as Kelly’s replacement is Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s current chief of staff.
CNN filed a lawsuit against Trump and several White House aides, after the administration suspended CNN journalist Jim Acosta’s press pass last week.
Trump named Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, to fill the seat vacated by Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hate crimes in America increased by 17 percent last year, even while overall violent crime fell very slightly, according to newly released data from the FBI.
At least 44 people are dead, and more than 200 people are still missing, as the Camp Fire—now the most destructive fire in California history—continues to blaze through the northern part of the state.
Today on The Atlantic
This Is a Problem: President Trump appointed Matthew Whitaker to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week. The move is unconstitutional, argues former deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo.
‘A New Kind of Centrism’: Even though they had some high-profile losses, progressives still see last week’s midterms as a victory for progressive thinking. (Elaine Godfrey)
Young and Blue: The House of Representatives is an “unfriendly environment for rising talent,” reports Elaina Plott. Why is it so hard for young Democrats to get leadership roles there?
Doomed Policies: President Trump reportedly plans to fire Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen for weak enforcement of his immigration policies. But Nielsen isn’t the reason why they’re failing, writes David A. Graham.
Becoming Michelle Obama: The former first lady’s new memoir is a strikingly intimate look at life as a political spouse. (Hannah Giorgis)
What We’re Reading
Oops: A poorly designed ballot might have swayed the midterm elections in Florida. Here’s how. (Dana Chisnell and Whitney Quesenbery, The Washington Post)
Bigger Than They Thought: With all the votes counted, the Democrats had a larger win this year than Republicans did in 2010. (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)
A New American Revolution: Revolutions have always shaped American society, starting in 1776. In 2018, the left has tried to stage a new revolution—one modern America doesn’t need, argues Victor Davis Hanson. (The National Review)
Mapping Fire: California’s wildfires are still raging. Keep track of them. (Lauren Tierney, Laris Karklis, and Tim Meko, The Washington Post)
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