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From entrepreneur to employee: How to navigate workplace politics

Workplaces are a melting pot of social relationships and professional interactions, so it’s no surprise that you’ll have to quickly find your feet in a complex environment. Understanding the political issues at play in your new workplace and knowing how to deal with them without it affecting your well-being or reputation will be critical to your success in a new role.

But the question is, when you’re new to a company, how can you recognise workplace politics? Well, if you’re involved in interactions with other people and the discussions or decisions appear to make sense to everyone except you, then this is usually a sign that workplace politics are at play.

Other signs of politics in the workplace are illogical processes and inexplicable conflicts and tensions between people.

As a new person in the team, it’s important to remember that you can also be a trigger for political behaviours.

As a new person in the team, it’s important to remember that you can also be a trigger for political behaviours and actions because you don’t yet understand the relationships and pressures that others are dealing with. As a result, try to understand as much as you can about what makes your workplace and colleagues tick, so they feel comfortable involving you in candid and frank discussions.

The problem is, when you don’t have a grip on the politics of your workplace, it can start to become very stressful and frustrating which could have a negative impact on your well-being and productivity.

So how can you start navigating the politics in your new workplace? Well, your emotional intelligence will play a huge role in how you successfully handle workplace politics. For example, while it’s important to always speak up, one of the worst things you can do is take an overly aggressive approach because this can quickly make matters worse as it can cause people to want to protect and defend their behaviours instead of coming to a resolution.

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To address a political issue or situation, you need to be respectful, free of emotion and you should avoid pointing fingers. The best approach is to be logical and matter of fact, explaining exactly how a situation – not person – has made you feel or impacted your work.

Employees don’t always have sight of the bottom line like entrepreneurs, which means they’re rarely directly impacted by their decisions or actions. In this context, you should try to use your entrepreneurial way of thinking and experiences to have a positive influence over your workplace’s political environment.

This content was produced in commercial partnership with Indeed.

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