Live at peace with others: The easiest way to avoid problems with politics is to get along with people. For instance, you can be pleasant and professional, while at the same time being assertive when necessary. If you have a concern, focus only on the issue, not on the person. If you have to refuse a request, explain why and try to come up with alternative solutions.
Don’t talk out of school: Does your organisation have issues? Have people told you things in confidence? Then keep those matters to yourself. Talking to outsiders about issues within your organisation makes all of you look bad to that outsider. Furthermore, your boss or your boss’s boss will not appreciate that behaviour. People will find out that you spoke about what they told you, and they’ll lose confidence in you and respect for you.
Be a straight arrow: The best way to keep out of trouble politically is to be seen as someone who doesn’t play office politics—in other words, a straight arrow. Do what you say you’re going to do, alert people to problems, and admit your mistakes. Others will respect you, even if they don’t always agree with you. More important, you have a lower chance of being a victim of politics.
Document things: Nothing saves a job or career more than having a written record. If you believe a matter will come back to haunt you, make sure you keep a record of the matter, either via e-mail or document. Documentation is also an effective way to highlight your own accomplishments, which can help you when your performance evaluation is conducted.
Stay away from gossip: Nothing destroys the dynamics of an office more than gossip. Stay away from it, because nothing good comes from it. Just be sure you avoid the “holier than thou” attitude of lecturing your co-workers on the evils of gossip. You’ll make them lose face, and they’ll resent you. Instead, try subtly changing the subject.