You might want to avoid politics at work — but the truth is you’re involved no matter what you do. The good news? “Office politics” doesn’t have to mean “dirty politics.”
Not All Politics are Dirty
Politics does not necessarily include deception, jockeying, or betrayal — any of the things we associate with dirty politics. And in fact it most often doesn’t. Here’s why.
The political landscape refers to the network of relationships in an organization and the power held by people — whether positional or otherwise — to make or influence decisions. Natural to human relationships are preferences and alliances, and an outgrowth of that is who is favored, who is rewarded, and who is dinged.
You Can’t Ignore Politics at Work Because It’s Not Ignoring You
There will always be occurrences of nasty politics and back-biting, but what I want to emphasize here is that politics exists aside from this and you must pay attention to it. It’s a fact of life in all organizations and industries, and it affects everything about your job, including how influential you can be.
That’s why you need to become a master of the political game.
Mastering Office Politics is Crucial to Your Success as a Leader
No one becomes an effective leader without being an effective influencer. And no one becomes an effective influencer until they’re navigating office politics with attention and understanding.
In order to influence and in order to lead, you must take into account the preferences and alliances of those who have power in the organization. You must understand what’s important to them. And you must understand how people fall in and out of favor with them. Without doing these things, you will run into roadblocks and your influence in the organization will be limited.
Next week in parts 2 and 3, I’ll tell you how to understand the political landscape inside your company and how to master the political game at work. Once you put these strategies into play, you will notice a difference at work – and it will be easier to see politics as a positive thing, and not as a dirty word.