Organizational Politics

Resist Drama

Workplace drama varies by place, but tends to be a reality of many offices. When drama arises, get over it quickly. Do not be the person who keeps bringing up the dramatic exit of the guy who may have gotten fired. It is not productive or positive. If there are people in your office who love to drum up conflict, keep your distance. If disruptive drama is ongoing but work still needs to get done, be the one to figure out a plan. State things factually and ask nonthreatening questions: “Do we know yet who will take over duties on the Hong Kong account?” Not: “So, since John got fired for that messy business with the intern, who do we think is going to get stuck picking up the pieces?” It can also be wise to hold back during drama to let things unfold, waiting until you get direction on next steps.

Navigating Reorgs

Particularly during reorganizations, people will be feeling nervous, and once new assignments are made, most will want time to digest the changes, get up to speed, get to know their new chain of command, and only then start dealing with details. For example, if you just got a new boss due to a reorganization, do not push her for time or decisions on noncritical items. The optional training course you had been wanting approval to move forward on may be a great idea, but her focus will likely be on getting to know the organization and leadership priorities before turning to housekeeping items. Follow the manager’s lead on when and how in depth to go on your workload.