I have written about office politics and how, despite despicable people, a good strategy at work is to be honest, kind and fair in work practices. But you need to balance this with smarts and ruggedness in your soul.
You have to use commonsense and make a backstabber lose by their lack of integrity, not yours. To do this you need to have the strength of good character combined with the swift action of strong king or queen of old.
And remember, a big reason I stress being honest, decent and kind isn’t just because it’s a good thing. These things sell. Do you think your boss wants to promote a person who, in the long run, is going to stab him or her in the back?
Now one strategy to follow is advice given by Bismarck, a wise German leader of the late 1800’s. He said great nations should never become involved in the affairs of little ones. Good advice for the office. So how do you employ this good strategy?
Don’t engage in petty verbal fights with backstabbers or even respond to behind the back rumors. In other words, stay away from being sucked into the affairs of little countries. You are trying to impress your boss, not your coworkers.
Protect your work and learn to use resources where you don’t drain office manpower if you can. Also see to it that the work you are responsible for gets done. I don’t care if you only take out the trash; don’t depend on Jenkins, the office clown.
Come in early and stay late.
Be kind, generous and give praise as due. Again, you are trying to impress your boss.
Look sharp. Keep work, work, and the fun part of you (not what’s charming; the part that wins beer chugging contests) private.
Understand where I am coming from. Your boss will defend you if you become a huge asset. You can’t fight a shadow which is what office politics depends on, so you make yourself substantial. A great nation if you like.
Queen Elizabeth the First of Shakespeare’s time could not fight every gossip who wanted to destroy her. Her throne was shaky due to the same quarrel that killed King Richard the Third. So she painted her face white, became regal and invented a myth of the Virgin Queen so powerful that her subjects loved and adored her. You don’t throw out a real Queen.
Queen Victoria saved European culture. People think the Victorians were stuffy and repressed, this is a myth. They were everything in private that we are, they just felt that the world of fun as we think of it for the sake of good order should not be public. Were they wrong?
Queen Victoria had her detractors in the beginning because she left her self open to them as a young queen. Once married, her husband, Prince Albert, and she purposefully lived the life of modesty which swept the world. Beyond reproach, she couldn’t be touched by any scandal.
George Washington in his farewell address wrote a response to all the petty people who unfairly nipped at his heels when he was President. Alexander Hamilton threw it away. He adviced Washington to write something noble and ignore his critics. History wouldn’t even know who they were Hamilton said. We don’t.
Make yourself an Elizabeth, a Victoria, or a Washington at work.