POLITICS in clubs and committees: 5 ways to avoid it

In any club/committee, you’ll meet people you like and people you don’t like. It’s easy to work with people you like who also have similar worldviews. But what about working with people that you just instinctually don’t like?

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You need to learn and find ways to work with these people because at the end of the day, shady politics would only affect the morale of the entire club.

1) Know how to communicate with different people

Know your friends well, but know your “enemies” even better. Identify the characteristics of these people that you don’t like. What are the major differences between you and these people that make them so “unsociable”?  How they socialise and bond with their friends? (Yes, they have friends too)

Once you think you’ve got down their personality, devise a plan to approach them in an effective manner.

Maybe this person prefers a gentle nudge to get work done as compared to your “We must get this done or you’ll see my wrath!” approach. Maybe this person has a lot going on and has problems with time management, so offer an action plan that works best for the club/committee and this person. Or maybe, the dislike is mutual so it’s best to work with a third party messenger instead.

Efficient communication + efficient work + happy group members = no politics.

2) Conceal, don’t feel, but also don’t pent up

You have a stubborn member in your club? You really, really want to tell this person how they are making everyone’s life miserable? You want to just rant about this person to other members?

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Ok, calm down.

When you’re with these people you don’t like, do not show displeasure. Act graciously. Listen to what they have to say, withhold your mean and straightforward comments and be as polite as you can while expressing constructive feedback. A courteous environment grows no politics.

Wait till the end of the meeting, then explode your rants to friends NOT in the club/committee, run around the campus, punch your pillow, or run up to Little Guilin and shout your lungs out.

Show your kindness publicly, express your rage privately.

3) Talk to an outsider

A second opinion from a neutral outsider (maybe your Poly/JC best friend) provides a clear analysis of the situation in an unbiased manner. Perhaps they’ll provide an analysis of these people you dislike. Perhaps they’ll provide some advice as to how you should communicate with these people. Perhaps they’ll point out your faults.

And even though they are likely to take your side of the matter, they are also not as emotionally invested as you are.

Clear headed thoughts = no politics.

4) Don’t be the stubborn one

The stubborn one feels victimized and puts blame on the group, which more than often, is the start of shady politics and backstabbing. The stubborn one holds back plans and hampers progress. The stubborn one thinks highly of themselves.

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Having morals and beliefs are definitely important, but sometimes it’s also necessary to be flexible so as to benefit the greater good of the club/committee. Try to see if you displayed these traits during your daily self-reflections in the shower. Don’t be the fuel that starts the fire.

5) Ignorance is Bliss

And sometimes the only way to avoid politics is to turn a blind eye to it.

“Did you know that ABC is actually just being friends with XYZ until the end of election season?”

“Oh, really ah?  I didn’t know.”

Why be a part of a big mess when you’re just content being a member of a club that functions well enough on the surface? Choose either to be oblivious to it or actively avoid it.

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Now that you know 5 ways to avoid politics in clubs/committees, apply which ever method you feel is the easiest or most applicable to your situation.

Remember, politics don’t only affect the relationship between you and the other person; it affects the working environment and how well the club’s/committee’s functions.

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