Every company has the sub culture known as “office politics” and I believe we’ve all worked with someone who was politically savvy. They knew how to maneuver their way through an organization. For some individuals the stakes are quite high when it comes to office politics – succeed and you get to keep your job or get promoted- lose and you may be pounding the pavement looking for a new job. The majority of people tend to be in the middle, trying to navigate through it with out taking to many risk or just ignoring it.
I was reading an article the other day that talked about dealing with office politics. It listed tips like: keeping to yourself, avoid sharing personal information with co-workers, and not discussing disagreements publicly. After reading I was so disappointed in the author because what they were essentially doing was setting up individuals to fail in the majority of corporations. Being politically savvy is part of striving for break through performance. According to the Lominger competency model, people who are politically savvy accept this as the human condition and deal with it. Political savvy shouldn’t be confused with being “political” which is what we think of most elected officials- a lack of trust and no substance. On the other hand political savvy involves getting things done with the least amount of resistance and the maximum amount of benefits.
So here are a few things you can do to navigate office politics:
1) Learn to deal with conflict
2) Know what you are trying to achieve and be sure those around you know. (Open Communication)
3) Focus on your circle of influence – there are often issues which we have very little control over. Don’t focus your efforts on things you can’t change and realize that complaining about them doesn’t help, instead focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation. (for more information read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits)
4) Be aware of what is going on around you but don’t get involved in everything.
These are just a few tips. What can you add to the conversation?