I would like to know how best to deal with a highly political work environment. Specifically one where everyone seems to have an agenda but it’s not clear what the agendas are. It’s also not clear who’s aligned with who. It makes the job a lot more difficult because you never know who’s going to back you and who’s going to block you.
It sounds like there's quite a power struggle going on at your workplace at present! Here are some strategies to deal with the situation constructively:
1. Get to understand the informal network: sit back and observe who is aligned with whom
2. Keep it zipped: Avoid gossip and try not to get sucked into these types of discussions
3. Stay informed: Keep your ears and eyes open and make sure that you stay in the flow of informal communication. This will help you to piece together what's happening on the political front.
4. Stay close to your boss: Keep communicating with your boss and make sure that you get support for your activities and projects. If you get blocked repeatedly, it's the job of your boss to remove barriers and support your agenda. To do this they need to be on board with what you're doing.
5. Identify backstabbers: Get to know who they are. Don't cut them out because this can work against you; rather maintain superficial neutral ties with them.
6. Think longer term: Keep the bigger picture in mind. The problems you're experiencing will seem small and insignificant when stacked up against the future.
7. Build allies: find trustworthy people who share your values and build strong relationships with them
8. Find a vent: We all need to get rid of negative emotions and frustrations at times. However don't do this at work. Rather find a safe none-work outlet to let off steam.
Let me know if these can work for you!