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8 Helpful Tips to Fight Dirty Office Politics and Win

Drew is a writer who likes to share what he read, learned, and experience for the benefit of everyone.

Office politics – a simple word related to a lot of hurtful things especially if you’re an employee. Most of the time, it’s linked to nasty gossips, sucking up, and even backstabbing.

But did you know that there are two kinds of office politics? Really? Yep, you have read it right. Healthy office politics maximizes and furthers everyone’s potential. Good office politics eyes the overall betterment of your team or organization’s interest.

The one who can do a better job is the one who’ll get the promotion. Of course, if only done without taking advantage or disparaging others. Pure skill and ethics, not some office slugfest.

Even so, there’s also another face of the coin. If healthy competition exists, there’s also the cancerous office politics. Dirty office politics is a thing we abhor especially when a higher position opens up.

A major headache inducer for all progressive companies. Bad corporate politics. This is where sucking up, backstabbing, and character assassination comes up. A prevalent issue especially in massive corporations and even in governments.

And whether we like it or not, most of the time, you’ll have to deal with it. What’s more, if you are a promising employee. Believe me, jealousy can drive a lot of people nuts. History in a nutshell can tell you a lot about this.

You might have already experienced such issues in your workplace. Some of you are aware, but some are not. Thus, it’s necessary to equip yourself with the right tools once you face such spiteful politicking.

With the right wisdom in your hands, you can box and knock out the office issues that are thrown at you.

Without further ado, here are helpful tips that will help you win against dirty office politics. The clean and ethical way.

1. Forge friendships through alliances

2. No to Drama

3. Always watch your back

4. Understand Your Work and Organization

5. Craft a good office image

6. Show Confidence and Results

7. Think before you react

8. Learn to Smile

Let’s read on.

1. Forge Both Alliances and Friendship

Believe it or not, history tells us that it's important to have an ally that can back you up in times of trouble. There is a big dilemma among individuals whether it is smarter to build a friendship before alliances or alliances before friendship.

Interestingly, research from the University of Pennsylvania argued that friendships are mostly built on alliances. Mutual benefits per se are the name of the game especially in politically driven organizations such as businesses and governments.

So, if you want to avoid or lessen dirty office politics. How about sharing a piece of that gigantic pie. Of course, make them work first. Mutual benefits stand if the two parties benefit. Not only him or you. But both of you.

2. No to Drama

This is a big no-no. For me, for you, and everyone else. When you got a stab in the back you bleed. But after this, the best way to react is to retreat and recuperate. Not some crazy drama loaded with face slapping scenes and verbal mudslinging.

Don’t show others your crazy side. Leave it at home. You are feeding others juicy scoops to talk about. A nice side-dish in their out-of-office gimmicks. Then, you got to work and hear everyone talking about you behind your back. And once again, you practice the stupid art of hysteria and drama. Believe me. It is a dumb cycle.

This is a perfect way to build a long list of enemies. So please, don’t do toxic dramas unless you’re an artist.

3. Always Watch Your Back

I can’t stress this enough. At work, don’t overly trust anyone. Please don’t take this literally like a block of deadwood. What I mean is always add some self-protection for yourself, a plan B in case something went wrong.

Don’t put all your files into one USB flash drive. Make copies to your computer or other flash drives for your protection. Though rare, some envious pricks might invent some made-up accidents to crush your work. Some might even steal and plagiarized.

Even so, don’t be an overly cautious employee. You are not a spy in some Hollywood movies. Keep a good balance.

4. Understand Your Work and Organization

A lot of employees actually don’t know why they are doing their work. Their brains wired exclusively for that end of the mouth payout. That’s why a lot of them fall prey and become victims of dirty office practices as well as dirty politics.

Some bosses like to pass their works to some unassuming employee then claim the results. Be wary of these guys and don’t spoil them lest they become rotten dead weights. Know what is your job, and what is their job. Anyway, that’s why your company gives out evaluation forms about the performance of your bosses.

5. Craft a Good Office Image

A clean and good office image can help you build a rapport with everyone. It’ll make your work easier, boosting your confidence along with it. A good office image can also help you establish good alliances and even friendships.

It will also lessen the possibility of having enemies within the office compounds. Even so, don’t lower your guard. Be vigilant against snakes.

6. Show Confidence and Results

Confidence and results are two essential things to showcase your worth and skills. Having these two things will build your credibility in the eyes of others. Of course, it can still crumble into nothing if you do something incredibly stupid.

Confidence without result is all empty talk. While results without confidence make you look like a fake. In some cases, you might even be falsely accused of credit grabbing. Or having others do it for you.

7. Think Before You React

Don’t just burst like an active volcano after hearing some bad news. Your reaction shows a lot more about you than the gossips about you. Think before you react. What can I gain if I go and start a verbal spar? Will it benefit me? Or will it benefit him?

If you know it's some dirty character assassinations, how about thinking for a moment first. Deflect the accusations with poise and confidence. You are not guilty after all. Spice it up with evidence and your adversity might be a call away from the CEO’s office.

Don’t get swayed by what your feeling right now. Inhale and exhale. Take a short breather outside and return. Remember, you can’t take back what comes out from your mouth.

8. Learn to Smile

Hey, stone-faced silly! Did you know that your glittering pearly whites (or yellow) are great weapons? Yep, a sweet and clean grin conveys openness, trustworthiness, and acceptance. No wonder those salesmen loved to smile right?

A smiling man, especially a genuine one, encourages other people to talk to him. They’ll find you more sunny and pleasing to the eyes. Now ask yourself. Which one do you want? A smiling wife or a scowling wife? Unless you have some twisted preferences, a smiling one of course!

Now let’s shift it to your workplace. Which one do you like to talk with at work? A stone-faced co-worker or a jolly co-worker? See the psychosocial effects of smiling now? No one will want to hit a smiling man.

Now go to a mirror and flex that smiling muscles. No, no, not that sardonic grin.

Bottom Line

It’s really difficult to handle dirty politics once you battle it face to face. Nevertheless, you can prepare yourself for the eventualities. Ready your ammunitions and stack your advantages by learning more.

Don’t wait when you’re already in the middle of the dirty verbal firefight and hidden machinations. “Just like what the great war philosopher Sun Tzu has said, “Know yourself, know your enemy, you need not fear the result of a hundred battle.”

Know and understand dirty politics and save yourself from future troubles. And if the situation comes despite your precautions, at least, you will be loaded with the right knowledge to win.

More Office Politics Tips? Feel Free to Watch


  • Business Without The Bullsh*t by Geoffrey James
  • DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2009). The alliance hypothesis for human friendship. PloS one, 4(6), e5802. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0005802
  • Sel, A., Calvo-Merino, B., Tuettenberg, S., & Forster, B. (2015). When you smile, the world smiles at you: ERP evidence for self-expression effects on face processing. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 10(10), 1316–1322. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv009

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Drew Agravante

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