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It's a Dogma-Eat-Dogma World Out There

Dogfightsigns2One more night left and then we are DONE with national political conventions for another four years.  Still, it has been fun to discuss and debate the candidates and the issues with friends and family.  With most people, I find I'm able to have wonderful talks.  We don't agree on everything, but we remain logical and respectful of each others' views.  Those whom I tend to avoid are the myopically dogmatic types who think that any diagreement is a personal attack on them, their party, their beliefs, their gender, their race, their age, their entire family, and anybody they may have looked at or talked with in the past 20 years.

To them I say, "CRIKEYS!  Get over yourself already.  LIfe is too short."

This kind of behavior is at the core of many office politics battles.  We assume since there is a conflict brewing, the other person has some personal vendetta against us personally since they don't agree with our views.  We also err in thinking if somebody agrees with us, they must be our friend.  Actually, there's a 2-axis grid which must be assessed when looking at office politics and conflict

Office_politics_support_grid

Your strategy will depend on which square the other person falls.  The biggest mistake most people make is spending too much time and energy in the upper right hand corner (they already are on your side, you don't have to win them over any more) and the lower left hand corner (nothing short of a nuclear holocaust is going to bring them over to your side, so let it go).

The real trick to being good at influencing people and winning them over in an office politics conflict is paying moderate attention to the lower right (just don't do anything so stupid that they vote against you out of spite) and a little more attention to the upper left (they already like you, so have a logical, rational discussion about your differences to attempt to find a win-win solution or a compromise).  But the area where more effort should be spent is in the neutral camp.  At a minimum, we do not want them siding with the Against camp.  We may be able to win them over to our side, but that takes relationship building and a whole lot of persuasion and influence (for which you may or may not have time).  So build your strategy accordingly with the people who are in this middle ground.  You may have to create multiple strategies, depending on the people populating this center region and their demographics/beliefs/hot buttons.  Don't assume one size fits all.

So... where does your office politics battle fall in this grid?  What are YOU going to do about it?

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