Your definitely don't learn this in school, but important nonetheless.
In fact, there are a lot of lessons in life (business life) that you can't or don't learn in school. You just have to get out there, get job and learn by trial and error. And so I hope to spare some of you learning this one the hard way.
Learn to Rise Above.
Learn to Rise Above the politics. The pettiness. The immaturity. The fray.
Learn to Rise Above the chaos. The indecision. The safe.
You all have seen these types of things in action. You've seen meetings where the politics start taking over. Or immaturity starts leaking into people's actions. You've seen it I am sure.
Once you've seen it and learn to recognize it, it then becomes easier to know when to Rise Above it.
You'll want to engage in it most likely because that's the easy thing to do. When people are being catty, it's easy to join in. When people are becoming argumentative, it's easy to fight right back. When meetings are going on and on in their usual indecisive ways, it's much easier to keep your mouth closed and sit there doodling.
I know. Easy is our default action.
So I am telling you: Rise Above.
Rising Above requires courage and action. It requires you to stand up and say something. Something like, "why do we have this meeting? it seems redundant to that other one we have?" Instead of week after week of non-productiveness.
Rising Above sometimes hurts egos and feelings. People will want to protect these at all cost. Rising Above sometimes requires change and newness. People will want to keep what they are familiar with.
Rising Above requires you to NOT add to the gossipy conversation going on. Which I know is hard. It requires you to treat your coworkers with respect. Though I know it is easier to make fun of them. It requires you to be bold in your decision making, confident in your abilities and respectful of everyone's skills and contributions.
I know this is hard. It's hard and takes practice. Ultimately you'll learn a skill worth having, worth envying.
Rise Above folks. The air up there is so much better for you.