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Workplace Politics: Podcast Episode 1

Pass the Torch for Women Foundation is exciting to announce the release of our podcast! This podcast will feature interviews with women from all stages of their career, discussing a variety of topics that are important to professional development.

We are excited to be partnering with Amplify Indy for this podcast, and featuring Developing Professionals president Amna Sohail as the host.

On this first episode, Amna talked with Lauren Howard of Indy Word Nerd, and Tera Klutz who is the Indiana Auditor of State.

Listen to Episode One HERE

You can listen to the first episode on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Read on for a recap of some of the main points discussed!

Office Politics are Unavoidable 

Whether you participate in them or not, office politics will exist in the workplace, and they will influence you and your team. So how do you deal with it?

All of the women interviewed have had their own experiences with office politics. As a state auditor, Tara’s workplace experiences extreme job turnover every four years within her team. As in any work environment that experiences office disputes and politics, communication is key. Having an open-door policy with your colleagues and creating an environment where communication is encouraged is a big help. 

Lauren stressed that, “office politics are really just a part of life, and you just have to figure out how to navigate them.” Her advice is to listen more than you talk. Consider what everyone else is saying, and what their worries are. Try to understand the viewpoints that are different than yours. Once you’ve considered other people’s perspectives, find some mentors to help you figure out how to approach the situation. 

Talk to Mentors 

All of the women interviewed stressed the importance of getting outside opinions from mentors and members of your tribe. As Erica said, “when you’re feeling a little bit alone at work, Pass the Torch is there to help you find your tribe and find support.” No matter what the future brings, having mentors will always help you at some point down the road for professional connections or simply advice.

Tara discussed how valuable it is to hear the viewpoints of people who are different than you. Do you have a colleague who has a very different personality from you, but who you really respect professionally? She might see the situation in a different way, and provide insight.

Lauren also talked about the importance of having a safe space. If you really need to vent about some of the issues you are experiencing in the office, keep it out of the office. Talk to a friend face to face, but don’t say anything over email that you wouldn’t want someone at your work to read. 

Aim for Open Communication

Tara and Erica talked about the importance of taking time to collect yourself when work becomes tough, and then returning to talk with your supervisor and colleague once you feel level-headed and ready for a conversation.

“Face to face time is so important, and it helps you forge a deeper relationship so you can get past some of those emotional barriers that are more reactionary,” Lauren said. Sometimes it’s hard for colleagues to fully understand each other’s viewpoints. Lauren likes to operate under the impression that everyone has good intentions, but maybe there is a misunderstanding. Approaching the situation from a place of empathy will help you not become overly frustrated. 

Stay Tuned

In summary, dealing with office politics is not easy. It can take practice, challenging conversations, and bravery. With mentors and advice from your tribe, it can be a little bit more manageable.

Listen to the whole episode for more details and stay tuned for more!