Balancing act: Office politicians can make work life miserable
— The Credit Thief. This person enjoys the spotlight and often takes credit for the work of others. “When collaborating with a Credit Thief, document your contributions,” the Robert Half release said. “Provide regular updates to your supervisor and correct any misrepresentations about your work.”
— The Sycophant. This is the coworker who flatters everyone in a position of power. “Although it may be hard to watch, don’t sweat the Sycophant’s tactics,” the release said. “Most managers can see through them. Give kudos to deserving individuals, regardless of their position.”
— The Saboteur. This person likes to play the blame game and make others look bad. “Limit your interaction with this master manipulator and make sure to stand up for yourself. Often, the Saboteur will back down when confronted,” the Robert Half statement said.
— The Adviser. “This professional is often closely aligned with an executive and serves as his or her eyes and ears,” the release said. “Develop a good rapport with the Adviser because he or she could have a direct line to the top.”
I’ve seen all of these kinds of people at work during various times in my career. I’m usually most annoyed by the Credit Thief and the Sycophant, but I don’t enjoy working with any of them.
How about you? Do you get involved in office politics, or do you stay neutral? Have you worked with a Gossip Hound, Saboteur or any of the other “politicians” mentioned in the Robert Half survey? How did you get along with them, and what advice would you give to others who are dealing with one of these types — or another kind of office politician who wasn't mentioned in the survey?
Let me know about your struggles and successes, and I’ll share some of your responses in a future column.
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