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All organizations are political – and to some degree, they always will be. The underlying reasons are psychological. First, work involves dealing with people. That means finding a compromise between what they want and what we want, and it’s often a zero-sum game.

Second, humans are emotional creatures, biased by unconscious needs and riddled with insecurities. As the great Dale Carnegie, who probably knew more about the art of politics than anyone else, once observed: “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic but creatures of emotions.”

As a result, office politics tends to hijack critical organizational processes, making simple tasks complex and tedious, and organizations ineffective; wearing people out and accounting for a significant portion of work-related stress and burnout. Indeed, we all know people who have perished for their inability to navigate office politics in spite of being talented, hard-working and having the best of intentions

If you are a calm and composed person who does not take part in frivolity like this it may affect you more to have been caught up unintentionally in a cold feud. However, such a work environment can be taxing for your mental health and your mental peace.

There are many ways to deal with the stress which may overwhelm you. It is important to take care of your psychological needs so as to not let it affect your productivity which may lead to deteriorating performance in the workplace. It may also affect your personal relationships directly or indirectly. You can experience more anger than usual, short temper, lack of patience, frustration, etc when dealing with office politics. You may want to acquaint yourself with what is going on around you in the office besides work just to avoid getting caught up in such politics and escape any unwanted trouble. You can also approach your office counsellor or HR to talk about serious issues.

A very effective way of dealing with such a situation is to read some self-help books and gain some insight. There are books that deal with chapters which narrate various stressful events of daily life and office politics that can affect a person and gives solutions to handle them with ease. Reading this self-help book may help gain a new perspective regarding office politics.

Counselling is another way to help such victims to overcome the hardships faced at the organisation. If you’re interested in creating a better work experience for yourself, and for the people you work with, you have to stop looking at office politics as something to be afraid of and start looking at it as something that you can use for good.

At the end of the day, it’s nothing more than adapting your behaviour to get the best outcome out a specific situation at work, and hopefully, that’s an outcome that helps you make progress towards your most important goals. There’s nothing wrong with adapting your behaviour. In fact, we do it all the time without realizing it.

You probably act very differently at home than you do at work, or at a place of worship, or your kid’s school, or on vacation. So, adapting your behaviour to more specific individuals or situations at work is really no different than what you’re already doing.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India and Defence Research and Studies

By Dr Rachna Khanna Singh

Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, the Senior Fellow with DRaS is a Mental Wellness Expert, a TEDx Talk speaker, focused on Relationship, Lifestyle & Stress Management. She heads the Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon and the Founder and Director of The Mind & Wellness Studio, Delhi & NGO ‘Serve Samman’. Dr Rachna is a visiting lecturer and faculty member of various esteemed educational institutes worldwide such as IIM, IIT, BITS PILANI, Delhi University, NMIMS, Amity University, Himachal Medical Colleges, University of Exeter, University of Minnesota, Royal College of Physicians, etc.