Nothing much has changed since the cliques of high school – although today’s clique categories are a bit different, they still include what you recall from your high school, just with different labels.
In high school, cliques are part of social development.
In the office, your job and your reputation can be at stake.
All workplaces are political because we are human beings who bring all our baggage, good and bad, into the workplace.
What does one do if you are either new to the game of large offices or still working in that environment?
Set clear boundaries.
Start by staying out of it. What game you do not join, you do not have to play.
Be nice, at all times; be as nice as possible.
Be fair to all you speak to. When someone attempts to engage you in a Gossip Round, simple, non-committal replies are best.
Use lots of ‘Ohs?’ and ‘Ahs’! and ‘Unhuhs’. Really – no one will care and they will move onto the next person who will agree or disagree, therefore getting snagged into a revolt, big or small.
Don’t gossip about anyone in your office, building or company. It may hurt you on the way up the ladder and send you spinning down quickly.
The best players have the same respect for the receptionists as they have for the CEO, VPs and other C Suite categories. You never know who’s watching or listening or who is anxious to pass on your words to someone else. Don’t let anything you say bite you in the butt.
Establish your office ‘line in the sand’ and do not engage anyone who wants to play the game of gossip, bullying or any other not-so-nice means.
Be yourself at all times and enjoy yourself as much as possible while you contribute your skills – the ones they pay you for – to your company.