Gossip Dominates Office Politics

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A new survey from staffing firm Robert Half offers up all the ingredients for another office sitcom. (They even made a minute-long video acting out some of the drama – see below.) It also has advice on dealing with workroom politics.

Reveals the survey: “56 percent have observed political maneuverings on the job. Chief among these activities is gossiping, cited by 54 percent of respondents, followed by flattering the boss to gain favor (20 percent) and taking credit for others’ work (17 percent).”

Two percent claimed to see people “sabotaging coworkers’ projects,” and 7 percent – who apparently didn’t want to give you any ideas – cited “other” activities.

Most respondents denied being active participants in office politics: 40 percent “get involved when issues are important to me” and 39 percent “stay completely out of the fray.”

Ready to meet the cast of this office comedy? Here’s Robert Half‘s stereotypes of “office politicians” and how to deal with them…

The Gossip Hound. This person loves spreading rumors and can often be found hovering around the water cooler, speculating about a variety of sensitive issues. Keep your distance from the Gossip Hound and don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone directly.

The Credit Thief. This individual loves the spotlight and relishes taking credit for other people’s work. When collaborating with a Credit Thief, document your contributions. Provide regular updates to your supervisor, and correct any misrepresentations about your work.

The Sycophant. “Shameless” is this person’s middle name – he or she will offer fulsome flattery to anyone who is in a position of power. Although it may be hard to watch, don’t sweat the Sycophant’s tactics. Most managers can see through them. Give kudos to deserving individuals, regardless of their position.

The Saboteur. Watch your back when working with this person, who loves 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 Adviser. This professional is often closely aligned with an executive and serves as his or her eyes and ears. Develop a good rapport with the Adviser because he or she could have a direct line to the top.

And lest you think Robert Half is a little too serious about this, check out their dramatic re-enactment…

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