Though the academe is not as tough as the corporate environment, it still suffers from office politics. Because the need for promotion exists in any average working place, power struggles among co-workers and colleagues can still occur; power struggles are also evident even in school. There will be alliances and even pure non-job related antagonism between two or more people. Sometimes, this happens when people are constantly working closely. These rifts, however, can be prevented. Here are a few things to keep in mind to stay away from office politics in the academe.
Office politics in the academe can produce a certain degree of dishonesty in people. Co-employees with hidden agendas may give you their best smiles, but are actually badmouthing you to the dean or the principal. To avoid this, do not join them in their fun. Instead, show your real self. Even if others have hidden agendas, do not harbor one.
Like in any other setting, you will be dealing with people who have strong opinions and personalities. You may even be someone who is quite opinionated yourself. However, dealing with different kinds of people will require you to broaden your point of view so that you see others’ perspectives as well. Flexibility will also enable you to bond with everyone, not just with your own clique.
Demonstrating tongue discipline
Gossip will never result in anything positive; in fact it is counterproductive. Though people may talk ill about you, respond by telling only the truth. Playing against your enemies at their own game makes you as bad as they are. While gossip from others may taint your reputation on the surface, gossip from you will truly ruin your being. When you gossip, you are perceived as someone who can never be trusted.
Taming the ego
Sometimes a high sense of self can mean trouble. If competition for a promotion becomes too intense, learn to keep your humility. Self-promotion can be subtly done by doing your job well. If, for example, the promotion went to somebody else, congratulate him or her. This way, you are perceived as someone who is not only humble but is secure and confident about your capabilities.
Working on credibility
Even if gossip is continuously aimed at you, a strongly built credibility will protect your reputation. You can be credible by combining transparency with consistently good outputs. Through credibility, you gain trust and, in time, respect.
Doing your job
You are in the academe to teach, to do research, or to study. Do your thing. You do not have to resort to office politics to gain a promotion or get a good score or evaluation. Being conscientious with your job will get you there.
Do not harbor grudges. Instead of gossiping, calmly and directly approach your detractor. Explain that you do not want to play the game of office politics, and that you will not respond in a similar manner. Make sure that you do this without a hint of arrogance.