In my first corporate job, I had high expectations that promotions were based on a solid work ethic and quality production. I wanted to aim for top and make it happen. Unfortunately, my ideas of corporate environment were inaccurate. As a grunt, an engineer, and a manager, games, turf wars, and political thrashings taught me numerous incredible lessons. In end, I made it to where I wanted to be, but not without bruises, scrapes, and experience.
Now, people come to me with problems that they have within their companies or on their job. They want to learn how they can overcome a situation or better adapt to make it within their companies. For instance, one employee lost out on a promotion because person in charge favored another person. In such situations, you have to look at both sides. Of course, scorned employee was upset as his credentials exceeded promoted employee's. But, when we examined other side of coin, one of prominent actions performed by promoted employee was that he publicly supported boss. If you remove emotion from situation, and apply some "poli-think," it made sense, according to manager's needs.
You can either fight it, or you can learn how to make it work for you. I'm not condoning politics nor am I saying that you should use political tactics in your everyday life, as this is not only exhausting, but it also takes away from your work and personal time. But, if you can understand your corporate culture and its politics, you can better learn how to handle situations that are placed before you instead of becoming stressed or frustrated.
--- The Corporate Culture ---
When you enter Corporate America, you have two choices: dig in, go with punches, and make it into inner circle, or you can hang back and just do your job. Both postures are very necessary elements of corporate life and both are just as difficult. It all depends on what you want out of your career.
* The Corporate Being
A Corporation is a living, breathing, and growing entity. It changes on an irregular basis, adapts to its environment, and sometimes performs acts that seem almost ludicrous. In this way, a corporation is very much like a human being.
You, as a part of this being, must learn how it grows and changes. Most of time, this information is not evident. However, part of task of becoming a viable asset to this being is to look beyond surface and find out where things are going. In this way, you can position yourself to be a positive part of growth and change.
Many of political situations that occur within a corporation are a result of this growth and change. These changes cause incredible stress for some individuals; however, stress can be overcome by not fighting politics and learning culture of organization. You will learn that many of these situations have valid political reasons for why they occur.
Learning corporate culture is an important step in managing stresses associated with any job. Take some time to observe culture at your office. This will not only give you an idea as to how to handle yourself, but it will also help you learn how to handle others.
* Culture Shock
A corporate culture is a set of behaviors and rules that people use to manage their interactions. These include formal company policies and informal rules that you learn through experience. Many times, management will not tell you informal rules of office, but they will use your ability to adapt and learn as a sign of how well you handle yourself. Additionally, behaving in an inappropriate manner for culture could risk your being labeled as uncooperative by your coworkers.
In any situation, you should analyze culture, and, if necessary, change your habits accordingly to minimize stress. To evaluate your corporate culture, you should consider various important aspects of environment. For instance, communication style, teamwork, chain of command, appearance, management roles, interoffice friendships, politics, individual attitudes, and general workspace environment are important elements to pay attention to so that you can better acclimate to environment.
After you've learned culture of your workplace, you should see how it matches your personal style and expectations. To help prevent workplace stress, it's likely that you'll have to adjust some of your own habits. Of course, you should not stifle your originality or become an indistinguishable android. With an understanding of your workplace culture, you can make informed choices about your behavior and work habits, and prevent stressful situations and conflicts.
--- Corporate Games ---
Before you can understand corporate games in workplace, you must understand one, core definition of games: a corporate game is an illegitimate means of getting things done. It is a way that people twist and turn situations to reach a specific goal. However, those people that don't play, risk their careers.
Improperly managing power and politics can make or break your career, cause many sleepless nights, and often has very little to do with your actual job duties. Many people who fail in their jobs do so because of political problems, not skill deficiencies. Many intelligent and capable people aren't as successful as they might be because they haven't learned to cope with office politics. Understanding why you might be having difficulty at work involves understanding basic elements of office politics and why it exists.
Politics and political maneuvering is interpersonal conflicts and power plays that exist in most organizations. Among specific actions commonly associated with office politics are intimidation, indirect communications, covert tactics for advancement, manipulation for control, indirectly telling truth, hiding vulnerability issues, and playing for favors.
Some companies are better than others in amount of political activity required to do a job. In some companies, playing corporate politics is only job you have time to develop. In others, it is only slightly important. Politics is part of corporate culture of every organization and it's important to understand how it plays into your organization.