15th May 2009, Singapore – There can never be a workplace that has zero office politics. No matter how protected and how well the place is being managed, there are people. And people are the main source of politics. Get it? People plays politics for many reasons. Companionship, personal gains, misunderstandings or lack of understanding, formed groups and even for entertainment. Whatever the reason, any form of politics will affect the workflow of the company and adversely affect the performance of the company.
To survive effectively at a workplace, it no longer depends on how well or how efficiently you perform your jobscope. It is all about how you manage people (politics). Usually the survivor is a “master of office politics”.
Today we take an in-depth look at the various common characters that are likely to become useful if you know your game well. This is important as by being able to identify the different roles each co-worker plays, you are most likely to become an expert of office politics.
– Typically this person doesn’t even know that he/she had been stabbed while every other person in the office knows.
– Similar to “Shot-in-the-back”, but the difference is, this person knows about the back-stabbing. (But usually too late)
3) Office Know-All
– This person seems to know about almost everything in the office from co-workers’ personal lives to the company’s bank balance. This person is a must to have in your camp if you are planning anything. (I really meant everything.)
4) Time Keeper
– The Time Keeper seems to know the deadlines of everybody’s work. Once somebody missed a deadline, you can be sure he/she will be the first to report this to the management. Best to be “associated” with this person and a powerful tool to use to get back at your enemy.
5) Office Snoop
– This person is known to stick or poke his or her nose where it doesn’t belong. Also known as the “busybody”, this person is best left alone and if possible, avoid at all costs.
6) Office Angel
– Probably the most neutral person in any office and it can come in the form of a male or female. The Office Angel is also the mediator, the counsellor, the advisor and this person usually do not take sides or join any groups. However, if you are able to swing an Office Angel to your side, this is your first step to success in Office Politics. Use this person correctly and you will gain indefinite benefits.
7) Office Sacrifice
– The number one person that everyone think of whenever there’s a rap to be taken. This person is the resident “Victim” of the company. Sadly, sometimes this person do not even know why he/she is being faulted.
8) Office Bully
– The Office Bully is usually a more senior staff or a manager who thinks he/she has got a bigger head than everyone else. This undesirable character will not take no for an answer and he/she must have things done in his/her way. Usually associated with male staff, there are cases of female bullies too. Avoid getting into the bad books of this character. Do not have this person in your group too. Never try taming a wild animal, go figure.
9) Office Cow
– The Office Cow is closely similar to the Office Vamp which we will see later below. The only difference is, the Office Cow has no brain. Usually a female and commonly known as the office Bimbo worldwide, this person usually has a “killer figure” but totally stupid. Use this character correctly and she can be useful in some situations. (But not important things, please)
10) Office Gimp
– Also known as the Office Moron. Need more explanation?
12) New Boy
– The most untidy person in the office usually appearing for work with crumpled shirt, dirty and smelly clothes, unshaven, etc. This person is probably also lazy and uncommitted. Avoid having this person in your group and instead, label this person as a potential Office Sacrifice in time to come.
14) Office Dog
– Dogs are faithful animal, hunter, watchman and everything else you will expect from a dog. But being a lackey, the Office Dog is also likely to be greedy and sometimes unpredictable. Groom one such Office Dog in your group, or if you are not confident of taming this person on a long term basis, avoid having one. This “Dog” could be also the management’s “Dog” too. Dangerous.
15) Office Clown
– A joy to have in every group. The Office clown is responsible for all the laughs and jokes in the office. Entertaining as he/she is, this person is also likely to be the most dangerous. Very simple, no one will ever regard the Clown as a threat. Having positioned himself/herself in that advantageous spot, this person can cause drastic damages to reputations if the agenda is incorporated into his/her daily jokes. A must to have in your group.
16) Ineffective Middle Manager
– No one ever respect this person in the office. Disgruntled, bored and stucked, this person is the “extra”, parroting what the higher management says and very much a loner. Do not have this person in your group. Usually this ineffective person is also under the scrutiny of the management too for the next retrenchment exercise. So it is best not to be associated with this person.
17) Bird Brain
– Quick-witted, but stupid responses. The Bird Brain is someone you cannot relied on for almost everything. Let your office enemy recruit him instead. Using this person this way is as good as sending a time bomb into your enemy’s camp.
18) Two Faced Swine
– In local context, this person is known as the “Two-Headed Snake”. This person cannot be trusted at all, for he/she serves two masters. However if one such person is identified, it will be useful to convey messages via this swine. Use this character as a neutral and do not acknowledge this person as part of your group. Your enemy will do the same.
19) Office Fascist
– Wikipedia described the Office Fascist as “oppressive“, “intolerant“, “chauvinist“, “genocidal“, “dictatorial” and “racist“. You need to be extremely clever to be able to control and make full use of this character, or else you are doomed too. Do not recruit this character into your group unless you are more senior in position to this person. Else, it can prove to be fatal.
– The grunt of the company. This person is not interested in any form of communication among colleagues and this person is trying to be neutral to everything. No matter what you ask him/her, you are guaranteed with no answer or one that are open-ended. Do not waste time with this person.
21) Office Vamp
– The opposite of Office Cow, the Office Vamp (female) has the looks, the figure and the brains. She will be the main attraction, lead actress and the center of focus & attention. Recruit the Vamp into your team and see how your male enemies suffer once the Vamp pulls the plug. A must to have in your group.
22) Water Cooler King
– This person hang around the Water Cooler machine all the time. Either this person is born with a defective throat that requires him/her to keep drinking water at 5 minutes interval or this person is simply out to gather news. As most office politics happened in pantries being the preferred scene in dramas and soap operas, this person may be “listening” to more than what he/she should know. But no one really know the real “boss” of this person or which group he belongs to. Be friendly with such a character but do not recruit him into your group. The Water Cooler King is a mystery.
– Usually a male staff who is always seen in fashionable clothes, well groomed hair and a million-dollar smile, this person is very much the male “Vamp” if he got brains. If he is a Mambo; the smart one (in relation & opposed to Bimbo), recruit him. Your female enemies will be in deep trouble. But is he is a Mum-bo; the male version of Bimbo, have him selected as the next Office sacrifice.
24) Prisoner of War
– This person is no doubt labeled as the “sinner” or regarded as “Death Sentenced”. This person may have failed in certain areas (possibly in office politics) and badly scrutinized. This person will be the favorite “Pantry Subject/ Topic”, the person to poke crude humor and the chosen one to ridicule. This person has low self esteem and most time, no more pride. Do not have this person in your team.
– Everything that came out from this person’s mouth is worthless and crappy. It is as good talking through the exit point of a human where nothing but filth exited. Such a person may also be brainless, yet trying to cover up for his/she shortcoming by talking nonsensical literature that no one will really understand. With a bad choice of words and the inability to express himself/herself properly, this is a character you must avoid having in your group.
– Do not confuse this person with the Office Busybody. This person can hear you whispering a gossip from twenty feet away. This person collects information and stored for “future use” and often a loner. He/she do not really mix around with groups and always within earshot of what you may be gossiping to another colleague. This character is useful for conveying message too, but more of using this person as the “opinionist”, which may assist in your revenge plan against your office enemies.
There are certainly more characters in the office environment that plays other roles, what I had listed here are really the “international” ones. When you are able to identify who plays what role in the office politics battle ground, you are on your way to ruling how things develop in your office. You build your little kingdom and have people do your bidding as you wished, just the way you want things to be. After all, this is office politics.
Stay safe, 5.00pm is round the corner.
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