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Compiled and edited by Julie Tereshchuk

Dear Mentors,

Do you have any tips on how to respond to office politics for greater success? I’m afraid I just stepped in it.

Mentee

Dear Mentee,

Here’s my short and sweet response: Listen, but don’t participate. Office politics are often an attempt to gain or keep power inside an organization. It won’t help you to be oblivious to the politics in your office culture, but look for ways to bring issues out into the open, and try not to participate in any manipulation or other drama you see going on around you.

Give people the benefit of the doubt. Look for ways to acknowledge and support them so they don’t feel the need to be furtive in their behavior.

If you’re a leader, see if you are inadvertently contributing to an environment where people are jockeying for power.

Also, office politics can be a warning sign of a toxic culture, so consider keeping an eye open for a role on a team that has a more transparent and supportive culture.

Yours,

Maura Thomas