The Greater Los Angeles Area YGL will maintain an environment that educates, inspires & transforms federal employees into prized promotable assets & be models for organization management that will be admired & emulated by agencies.
YGL-LA: How do you handle office politics as a young government leader?
May 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm #161846
It may be a taboo phrase ‘office politics’, but everyone deals with them at some point in their career. What do you do when faced with a peer using indirect means to acheive their goals?
Senior government leaders seem to at least understand the term, but when do we talk about how they affect us in the beginning of our career?
May 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm #161856
I’m a positive person and always believe in keeping your head down, work hard, make good contributions and you will be noticed. No need for office politics. Even if they do not acknowledge it, senior leaders recognize when employees are not being sincere and they don’t like office politics as much as the rest of us.
But if not, check this out!
May 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm #161854
Mike, I absolutely agree. There’s no need for office politics; everyone should be focused on the same goal and working as a team to accomplish that goal, whether it’s how to curb spending in the office, or creating a federal budget.
However, office politics are not avoidable. How do you ignore a co-worker who is actively engaging in office politics, and possibly/probably disrupting your team for personal gain?
Perhaps avoiding the issue is what led to the GSA/SS scandals that have been plaguing the government for the past few months. How do you redirect a self-serving government employee to get back to the primary goal, civil service?
How do you raise the next generation of government leaders to work through/without the office politics? Are office politics the cause of our lack of a solution to the economic crisis? Would we finally have a decent federal budget if all government employees were to shelve their ‘office politics’?
May 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm #161852
As a political scientist I wish I could offer profound advice like “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,” but I think, perhaps naively,it’s better to avoid office politics and rise above it. I also believe hard work has greater impact than office politics.
Also, you’d be surprised how far cookies and cupcakes will get you 🙂
May 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm #161850
I agree with Kelsey that office politics is inevitable in any social office environment. We are social people. In day-to-day work, I have found that the most important things get done through force of personality rather than through thought and analysis. I know that is not the more politically correct thing to say, but I believe it to be true. Since my time in government, I have continually noticed that the people recognized are not often the people who put their heads down and do amazing work. The people who get noticed are usually on the front-line making themselves known and advertising all that they are doing. Granted, that is not to say these “strivers” are not good people or they are maniacal in their dealings with people; some of them are truly great people and add a lot to the organizations. However, in today’s world, you need to learn how to get yourself noticed to advance or you will be lost in the shuffle. Depending solely on your boss to notice you can be risky. Instead, make yourself known at meetings, advertise how well you are doing your work and try to bring your enthusiasm to other projects. Show the office how much you care by socializing and spreading your work around. Now, the trick is to do this without looking like the snob or teacher’s pet but to actual be sincere in your efforts.
What is tough about this is going the extra mile to make yourself noticed takes effort and time. You need to find a good balance between making yourself known and doing good work.
To address Kelsey’s question about how to deal with office politics, I find actually talking to the people you have issues with helpful. In my experience, I thought one co-worker was boasting a little too much about their work and putting out a vibe that they were better than others. After working directly with them on a few projects, I found just how motivated they were and how hard they worked. I learned to use them more as a resource than as a barrier to work. These vocal people can be great allies is you engage with them.
Plus, if you feel your office focuses too much on office politics, do what you can to change that. There are ways as young leaders to make waves in organizational behavior. It’s not easy, but it can be done.
May 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm #161848
I have definately brought bagels and coffee to imporatant meetings. It helps to ease the tension in the room.
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