How to Stay Away from Office Politics in the Academe
The academy, like any other setting, still suffers from the harsh realities of office politics. Gossips and rumors are inevitable and it is up to you to handle them. Office politics, no matter how nasty it gets, must never affect your job or purpose. After all, you did not sign up for a teaching post or a research duty to participate in gossips and badmouthing activities. Here are some of the values you need to keep in mind to help you stay away from office politics:
Office politics, most of the time, is just as bad as national politics. The people who give you the sweetest smiles and warmest greetings may be the same people who curse you under their breaths. Do not hop into the badmouthing bandwagon. Be the living example of “what you see is what you get.”
Different personalities and strong opinions are inevitable in an academe. To avoid conflicts, be as open-minded as you can. Listen to what the others have to say before you refute them. Broadening your point of view will not only help you exercise flexibility, but it will also help you earn your colleagues’ respect.
The usual cause of misunderstanding in an academe is gossip. Be disciplined enough to fight the urges to participate in such activities. Gossiping about other people is like admitting the fact that you cannot be trusted, and you surely don’t want to give that impression.
Another common source of problem in an academe is the collision of egos, especially if a promotion is at stake. Self-promotion can be done without putting the others down. You can always do it the traditional way: by putting extra effort to do your job well. If you lost the promotion to someone else, then show some sportsmanship by congratulating your lucky colleague.
If you are the movie star-like center of office gossips, then refute all the negative things said about you by establishing your credibility. Protect your reputation not only by doing your job well, but also by showing your transparency in issues. Credibility will not only help you earn your colleagues’ trust, but also their respect.
Your purpose for being in an academe is to educate, to research, or to study. Do what you are supposed to do. You already have a lot of items in your to-do list and you should not waste your precious time in office politics. Participating in office politics is not necessary to get a good evaluation or to gain a promotion, it will actually do otherwise.
Everything can be solved through proper communication. If you heard a gossip about you, then personally approach your detractor. Talk to your detractor as calmly as you can and explain your side of the story. Do not give in to the temptation of starting another rumor to just to add fuel to the circulating gossips.