Winning Office Politics – 3 tips that Scrum Masters can use

The term Office politics is taboo for many professionals, as it is pervasive at any workplace.

To put it simply, workplace politics centres on differences within employees, differences in views and opinions, conflicts on various interests and perspectives, etc. Everything boils down to communications and relations in-between humans. 

You don’t have to be intimidated by office politics. On the contrary, great Scrum Masters are professionals who have swiftly mastered the delicate art of convincingly winning in the field of office politics. 

Here are 3 distinct tips that are helpful to make you victorious at your workplace:

Are you having a Choice?

An intelligently common reaction to any office politics is either fight against it or resort to flight. It is a usual human reaction for surviving in the wild and has been in practice since people were hunter-gatherers during prehistoric times.

If you want to be victorious, you have to consciously select an apt response according to the situation you face. You have to recognize that, irrespective of how bad the situations are. You do have a choice of how you actually feel and then respond accordingly. I know very well that this thing is easier said than actually done. So, how are you going to select? This leads to the next crucial point…..

Interpreting Self

Whenever there is a conflict, it is straightforward to get completely immersed in it with a tunnel vision and concentrate on prevailing differences. However, such an approach is self-defeating. There is a high probability, in this case, that you will invite further resistance ever by keeping your focus on differences in positions or views of people. 

I would positively recommend the approach of self-interpreting. In this manner, you can successfully mitigate the existent risk without appearing as if you are desperately fighting to win the conflict. 

To achieve such a focus on various business objectives, you need to gauge the positive and negative attributes of each of the choices or options. Eventually, each employee wants the organization to be successful. If the business is unable to win, then no individual in the organization wins. 

It is practically easier for a person to taste a piece from the humble pie and then immediately back off after realizing the selected approach is the most appropriate one. 

When you gradually learn to steer the dynamics of the discussion in this specific direction, you would also be able to learn to disengage yourself from a barrage of petty differences, positioning yourself as an individual who is keenly focused on getting the right things done. Your boss would certainly appreciate you as a mature and strategic person who can be bestowed with responsibilities.

Concentrate on Your Arena of Influence 

There are many issues, frequently, at the workplace, on which we don’t have any control. For example, it is not uncommon to get entangled in corporate policies, mandates of senior management or client demands that affect personal interests.

Such events are marked by gossiping/complaining beyond our control. But think for a moment – other than venting out emotions in the short term, what are the actual tangible results of gossiping? Unfortunately, in most cases, there are none. 

Instead of becoming frustrated or feeling victimized about a particular situation, you need to focus on ways to influence the circumstance seriously – here lies the importance of your arena of influence. I want to cite an example. I face such a situation in my company. I tackled it by shifting my focus to adding more value to community meetups locally. I concentrated on creating a healthy community of different Scrum Masters, productively shifting my focus. Even though it is not a part of my job, it provides me with a platform to shift my attention and focus on my bright spots.

This technique is empowering, as it overcomes the feeling of sheer helplessness. It removes any victimized feeling. It also shows you in good light, where other employees see you as an individual who can efficiently operate within the given limitations, with a self-motivating approach. At times, it is an incredibly effective way to prove one’s mettle strongly.

You may be not in a position to alter or determine the eventual result but, it is always possible to walk away by becoming aware that you have delivered your best in the given situation. 

The workplace is full of constraints. However, with a balanced approach, your boss would admire you as a positive and insightful individual. 

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