7 Ways to Use Office Politics Positively. Getting What You Want Without "Playing Dirty"
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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.
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?"
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.
Look beyond your immediate team, and cross the formal hierarchy in all directions – co-workers, managers and executives.
Don't be afraid of politically powerful people. Get to know them, and build high-quality connections that avoid empty flattery.
Reflect on your emotions, what prompts them, and how you handle them.
This kind of emotional intelligence helps you to pick up on other people's emotions, too, and to understand what kind of approach they like or dislike.
When you communicate your achievements to your connections, they might open up opportunities for you, your team, and your boss.
Always keep your organization's goals in mind, and don't "badmouth" others.
Get to know the gossips and manipulators better.
Be courteous but guarded, as they may repeat what you say with a negative "spin." Try to understand their goals, so that you can avoid or counter the impact of their negative politicking.
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“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.” --...
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.
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.
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Normally people react with caution and fear towards negative feedback, but it is much better than no feedback at all.
Informing the colleague/subordinate/client/customer or individual about something that is not working, is always beneficial, and builds transparency and trust.
The fundamental goal of giving feedback is to help the person you’re giving it to. They should realize that you are not trying to make them feel bad, and this is an exercise to help make them better.
How it impacts each individual is going to be different so a tailor-made approach is required.
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