Six Ways to Win at Office Politics
Published on WSJ.com
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Office politics can be vicious, and how power and influence are managed in your company will be a part of your career whether you choose to participate in them or not.
Some people prefer not to get involved in politics at work, but most career experts argue that playing the game is crucial to your career success. By avoiding it, you may find your talents ignored and your success limited, and you may feel left out of the loop, says Louellen Essex, co-author of Manager’s Desktop Consultant: Just-in-Time Solutions to the Top People Problems That Keep You Up at Night.
Here are six tips from the author that can help you win people over at the office:
Observe how things get done in your organization.
Ask some key questions: What are the core values and how are they enacted? Are short- or long-term results more valued? How are decisions made? How much risk is tolerated? The answers to these questions should give you a good sense of the culture of your organization.
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
If no one knows of your good work, you may lose at the game of office politics when you really deserve to win. Let others know what you’ve accomplished whenever you get the opportunity. If you don’t know the fine art of diplomatic bragging, you might get lost in the shuffle of your co-workers.
Determine strategic initiatives in the company.
Update your skills to be relevant to company initiatives. For example, don’t lag behind in technology, quality or customer service approaches that are crucial to you and your company’s success.
Don't align too strongly with one group.
While an alliance may be powerful for the moment, new leadership will often oust existing coalitions and surround itself with a new team. Bridging across factions may be a more effective strategy for long-term success if you intend to stay in your current organization for some time.
Learn to communicate persuasively.
Develop an assertive style, backed with solid facts and examples, to focus others’ attention on your ideas and proposals. Good politicians can adjust their messages for their audience and always appear well prepared.
Be true to yourself.
After analyzing the political landscape in your company, if you decide the game is one you can’t play, prepare to move on. It’s not typical, but some companies actually condone – even promote – dishonest, ruthless or unethical behavior. The game of office politics in this situation is not one worth winning.