Offices are innately political because most people are innately competitive. When politics can't be ignored they can be a pain to deal with, and it often feels like the only thing to do is complain if you don't know how to play the game. Your personal advancement in a company can depend on how well you leverage your personal skills with how you strategize politically. Louellen Essex, co-author of Manager's Desktop Consultant: Just-in-Time Solutions to the Top People Problems That Keep You Up at Night has some tips on how to play the game while maintaining a respectful reputation.
- Observe how things get done in your organization: Get a clear picture of your company's culture by asking key questions, like how decisions are made and what are the core values.
- Profile powerful individuals: Pay attention to the way they communicate, network, and which proposals they're drawn to, and draw on your strengths to emulate their traits.
- Determine strategic initiatives in the company: Constantly update your skills so you're relevant to company initiatives.
- Develop a personal track record as someone who gets results: Focus on outcome and results.
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- Don't be afraid to toot your own horn: Learn the art of diplomatic bragging to let others know what you've accomplished.
- Treat everyone with respect: If it's hard for you to be nice, remember that rude behavior can come back to bite you.
- Don't align too strongly with one group: For long term success, don't cling too tightly to one faction.
- Learn to communicate persuasively: Be assertive and show that you're well prepared with solid facts and examples.
- Be true to yourself: Some companies cultivate a negative culture that promotes unethical office politics, so if you decide the game is one you can't play it may be time to move on.