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7 Ways to Use Office Politics Positively. Getting What You Want Without "Playing Dirty"

Using Office politics to your advantage

Office politics are a reality, and avoiding them altogether risks not having a say in what happens. 

It also allows people with less experience, skill or knowledge than you to influence decisions that affect you and your team.

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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 ...

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.

Avoiding office politics
“Avoiding (office) politics altogether can be deadly for your career. Every workplace has an intricate system of power, and you can—and should—work it ethically to your best advantage.” --...
Social Astuteness

Aim to become something of a “corporate anthropologist,” observing the relationships between co-workers and superiors and paying attention to informal social networks.

By observing the communication and relationships that surround you at work, you might discover that instead of hiding when the team gets competitive, you would do better to hang in there, go toe-to-toe with them, and ultimately earn their respect.

Interpersonal Influence

Look for people who are not necessarily in high-level roles, but who have the ability to make things happen. Who are the movers and shakers in your organization, and what can you learn from how they get things done?

For example, you might discover that before voicing an opposing opinion in a global teleconference, it pays to have influential backers present. 

Workplace Drama

When workplace drama affects you, it can become an insidious cloud that permeates your day-to-day.

Be mindful and ask yourself, "What is actually going on here?" Focus on the fa...

Count Your Elephants

Make a list of all of the awkward, uncomfortable realities that haven't been discussed out in the open. 

Set aside time to consciously think through, what's actually bothering you right now and write down these elephants to enable you to resolve these issues.

Identify Your Role In The Problem

Be honest with yourself: Are you contributing to the situation negatively or doing anything to help?

Write down the ways in which you've contributed, and identify how you can personally take responsibility.