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How to Keep Office Politics From Destroying Your Success at Work

Identify the norms for action

Focus your powers of persuasion on the right people and the right issues.

Politically insensitive business people often try to steam-roll others with emotion, a barrage of facts, or a claim of high-level support.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Keep Office Politics From Destroying Your Success at Work

How to Keep Office Politics From Destroying Your Success at Work

https://www.inc.com/martin-zwilling/7-steps-for-navigating-office-politics-even-if-yo.html

inc.com

7

Key Ideas

Identify political players

We all start out naively assuming that all business leaders make decisions based wholly on fact and merit. 

The first challenge is to develop your "political sensitivity"--observe and ask questions about how things are done in your business, where the power bases are, and who might have hidden agendas.

Keep political players comfortable

Every individual and leader has their comfort zone--behaviors, values, attitudes, fears, and drives that result in productive relationships. 

Actions outside these comfort zones will likely lead to feuds, hidden decisions, excessive arguing, counter-productive lobbying, and back-biting.

Align with decision-makers

Before coming and launching a fully-fledged proposal at a committee or in a memorandum, it's smart to test opinion and find out how key people will react.

This enables you to anticipate counter-arguments and update your proposal to answer objections and to accommodate political realities.

Work the network of key people on decisions

Just as you do your homework on the facts, it pays to do your homework by visiting the players in a given situation.

Effective management is the process of harmonizing individual interests with the goals of all business stakeholders.

Identify the norms for action

Focus your powers of persuasion on the right people and the right issues.

Politically insensitive business people often try to steam-roll others with emotion, a barrage of facts, or a claim of high-level support.

Support others

... as often as you ask for support. If you are viewed as always demanding support, but never giving it, your effectiveness will be greatly reduced, even when you are right. 

Always communicate the win-win element in every decision.

Stand firm

When your integrity and values are at stake, do not fold. 

There are obviously occasions when a subtle or indirect appeal, rather than a direct attack will pay bigger dividends in highly-charged political situations.

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Don't Pretend to Be Above Office Politics

You work with a variety of people and you won't always get along with everyone. Telling yourself, "I don't engage in office politics, I tell it like it is," is a flawed tactic that might just cause more trouble.

When you stick your foot in your mouth, all you can do is apologize and explain it was a genuine mistake.

Ask Questions

Ask your contacts in any new environment.

  • Are there sensitive topics that I shouldn't discuss without talking to you first?
  • Can you draw an organizational chart for me?
  • Who should my main point of contact be for this project?
  • Is there a certain process I should follow for this task? Is it okay if I talk to this person first?
  • With whom should I be engaging?

With a clear understanding of how they work and are their organizational hierarchy, you're less likely to do something that will cause unnecessary drama or miscommunication.

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Analyze the Organization Chart

Map the political power and influence in your organization, rather than people's rank or job title.

Ask yourself questions like, "Who are the real influencers?," "Who has authority but tends not to exercise it?," "Who is respected?," "Who champions or mentors others?," and "Who is the brains behind the business?"

Understand the Informal Network

Examine people's interactions and relationships to understand the informal or social networks.

Watch closely (but discreetly and respectfully) to find out who gets along with who, and who finds it more difficult to interact with others. 

Notice whether connections are based on friendship, respect, romance, or something else.

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