Posted by: Dr Churchill | February 12, 2023

Politics by any other name: “Office” — like the TV comedy series

Whenever we hear “politics” our natural reflex is to find the quickest path to safety. That’s a smart approach for traditional election politics, but what about office politics? 

We can’t always run for cover when it involves our bosses, team members, clients, and customers.

In their simplest form, office politics are about the differences between people at work. These can be differences in opinions, personalities, authority, or power, and this or that – all nonsense when it comes to understanding the Enterprise’s potential loss from engaging into that cannibalizing sport.

Although workplace politics can be silenced, forbidden, outlawed — the real personality difficulties will always exist and those are sometimes rather difficult to navigate, not only because they’re almost an inevitable part of any organization, but because none of us is a psychologist and able to screen people and offer solutions for these office drones who suffer from the Napoleon complex of smallness, or the Superiority / Inferiority complex, or the Freudian complex that all your faults are caused by your Mother failing to breastfeed you, or love you adequately etc as defined in the “Electra complex” or because your father was distant tyrant that never approved of you and your actions and consequently never gave you love, a hug, or even any recognition for your efforts at being toilet trained by the age of 21, or whatever else ails you, and that is what Freud calls the Oedipus complex; so when negative office politics begin to fester all around you — you start blaming your Mommy & Daddy, while your organization swoons, dips, and suffers the slow burning inflammation that leads to premature death.

So in your business — if office politics are an inevitable part of work and something you face constantly — best you move on to calmer waters and let the dogs out, to go howling at the Moon, while they destroy both their careers and their business.

We know this because self destructive office politics, oftentimes determine who has the power and influence within an organization, because at the end of the day — all the good ones who have no time for that “shitte” take off for the greener pastures, the blue skies and the silky seas — where they can create in Peace and Harmony with the world and those around them.

Still if you have to combat office politics — here are a few recommendations to persevere:

A) Understand formal and informal networks—formal networks represent traditional organizational structures. Informal networks are those “behind the scenes” connections that inform and manage indirectly. Both are important in dealing with office politics.

B) Build Positive Work Relationships—having a solid network of support and sponsorship can often shelter you and others from harm. Make the effort to build and maintain loyalty and trust with those around you. Having a network of trusted friends is a strong antidote to office politics.

C) Keep things Professional—Never let your dealings at work degrade to name-calling, gossip, back-stabbing, or other activities that can damage your credibility. Know your limits and maintain professional decorum.

D) Develop and Use your Emotional Intelligence—Nothing goes further than your ability to connect with others during times of challenge. Utilize your listening skills, speak and act empathically, and be human. Respect others always.

E) Speak Up for Yourself-Stand up for what is right for you and those on your team. This takes courage; however, remember that nothing stops politics faster than the truth. If your organization doesn’t practice psychological safety, create an environment for it to happen within your function or area. 

F) Maintain a Positive Outlook—Work will always be challenging at times and often create stress and anxiety. When it does, talk them through with your people and know they won’t last. There will always be better days ahead when we think positively and focus on mission and purpose.

And above all else — please whenever you like engaging in Office Politics — go ahead and ditz-watch the TV comedy series “The Office” for a few hours, and you will understand why I say “Please Do Not Play” because at the end, everybody gets egg on their face.


Dr Churchill


Here’s an eloquent yet silent and respectful way to deal with “Office Politics”:

You have to learn to love your colleagues with all their shortcomings.

Know that this game has no rules, but you still have to play, if you are not in leadership.

If you are the leader — then make this rule number one: No Office Politics because this is better for all, and because nobody else needs to waste time away from productive activities that help the Enterprise’s collective output eclipse all stupid office politics, shut down all pissing contests and return the prima donnas to the Opera House.

And that is because there’s also a great deal of difference between good office procedures, priorities & policies, versus office politics that are generally a bad form of human interaction.

And if you have to play for whatever reason — please practice good politics, and contribute to the greater good while maintaining your honor and dignity for the benefit of all. 

Because as Steve Jobs put it — weak companies play Office Politics, whereas Strong Companies battle for the supremacy of Great Ideas, and not the Competition amongst people’s useless egos.

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