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Office Politics

There are few things as uncomfortable as dealing with difficult workers. Yet dealing with them successfully is a key to business success.

Business Management Daily is known for our sound, field-tested advice on favoritism in the workplace and other challenging office personalities and situations.

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Question: “I have been fired from almost every job I have ever had. My friend says I’m just unlucky, because I seem to wind up in impossible situations that I can’t escape. I know that difficult people are everywhere, but I guess I haven’t learned how to properly navigate around the worst ones. I’ve tried the fight-back approach and the just-deal-with-it approach, but neither seems to work. Last time, I made a pre-emptive strike by complaining to human resources, but I still wound up on the losing end of the stick. I have been fired from five jobs in seven years. What would you recommend for someone like me?” — Nathan

Move over, Google. Microsoft grabs tech headlines this month by adding zippy new features to its Internet Explorer browser. Here are four cool tricks that will save time for you and your employees.

There’s a hefty price to pay when a company doesn’t trust its employees, and employees don’t trust their company. Stephen M.R. Covey, son of the 7 Habits author, argues that if you don’t have a high-trust organization, you’re actually paying taxes on everybody’s suspicions.

We’ve all been put in situations where opinionated people force us to talk about something that we don’t care to discuss. What do you say in these awkward, challenging moments that allows you to speak your truth, yet leave another’s respect intact? Try out the following techniques:

Soon after Gary Lizalek was hired at a Wisconsin medical firm, he informed the company that he believed, as a matter of religious faith, that he was three separate beings. The company fired all three Lizaleks. He sued, saying the company failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.

As many companies cut back on expenses and, in some instances, cut staff, how do you maintain your edge and ask for what your department needs without immediately seeing your request denied? Tell a tale, become a storyteller and see your words make an impact.

How can you be assured of enough face time with your boss to ask questions, convey critical information and dazzle her with your smarts—without coming across as a time drain? The key, advises author and workplace columnist Anita Bruzzese, is to be aware of what your boss wants and when and how she wants it.

You've scrupulously avoided office gossip, but that isn't protecting you from being the subject of this week's chitchat. Wanting to jump quickly to your own defense is a normal reaction, but it might exacerbate the situation. Follow these steps to salvage your reputation and stop the gossip.

Question: I can’t seem to get promoted, even though I am well-qualified. My performance evaluations are excellent, and I have received numerous awards. The company posts promotional opportunities so that anyone can apply, but the “winning” applicant always seems to have been selected in advance. Obviously, politics plays a great part in these selections, and I am not a political person. I do interact with people, but I just don’t do it with an agenda in mind. How can I get ahead? —  No Way Out

It's almost performance review time, and you want to bring up issues with your boss about co-workers but not sound like a griper? Liz Ryan, a workplace expert, gives her advice on how to speak up during a review:

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