Can you get ahead in your job by just doing your job? Can hard work alone make a good career for you? People typically would rather work with someone who is likable and incompetent than someone who is competent but not likable. If you are not liked by your colleagues and bosses, they would start thinking you are less competent whether it’s true or not.
Office politics comes with the business terrain and you must understand it to ensure your own success. You have to use strategy to help you fairly promote yourself and your ideas.
Most people feel engaging in office politics is immoral and Machiavellian. If you want to ensure that you have a successful career, then you must learn how to deal with office politics.
In order to make office politics work for you and position yourself in a positive way, you must first of all accept the fact that it is inevitable and that you must develop strategies to ensure that the political behavior in your workplace is in your favor.
Work politics does not necessarily follow the formal organization chart. As an employee, you must find out who the real power players and influences are and thus know who you should appeal to.
You must spend your time listening. When you listen more and talk less, you are less likely to make statements that would mar the progress of your career and you would be seen as a trustworthy person.
You must also understand the informal network. Find out the cliques that have formed in your workplace. Study the inter-relationships and influence flow. What is the basis of the relationships? Friendship, mutual respect or manipulation? By studying the informal network, you would know who to avoid and who to get along with. More importantly, you would know how to deal with certain personalities.
To navigate the minefield of office politics, you must build relationships. You should have relationships that cross the hierarchy in all directors: peers, underlings, bosses, executives. Build relationships with those who have the informal power. Be friendly with people.
Ensure you promote yourself positively and use the relationships you have built to increase the visibility of your achievements.
Finally, you must watch your behavior. Don’t develop a reputation as a gossip. Build a relationship as a confident, assertive but not aggressive professional. Office politics is part of workplace culture and if you want to get ahead in your career, you have to ensure you improve your influencing and political skills.