You already know why you can’t avoid politics at work. But do you know how to jump in and play well?
There are four things you need to do to master the political game at work.
Know the political landscape inside your organization
And know it cold – both the power structure and the power people. Your political radar should be on at all times to pick up on who’s in and who’s out in the power game. There are three ways to understand the political landscape at work.
Get aligned and connected
Alliances are the people you join up with to get the results you’re expected to deliver on, and connections are those who can help remove barriers, get your work noticed and get you in front of key decision-makers. Those you should consider aligning and connecting with are people who have positional, political and resource power, for it is through them that you can increase your own power in your department or organization.
Manage Up Strategically
No one gets anywhere if they don’t manage up well. And it’s not just your boss that you should be concerned with. It’s anyone in leadership who could make or break your next career move. One way to manage up strategically is to know your manager’s top 3 priorities and make sure that s/he knows that you are keeping them top of mind. Additionally, it’s useful to make yourself aware of the top 3 priorities of at least 3 in-the-know leaders with whom you are connected, or should be connected. With that strategic view of your manager’s and top leaders’ priorities, you increase the opportunity to be recognized by them as a knowledgeable leader. And that increases your political capital.
Identify and manage your enemies
An enemy is anyone who might cause harm to your career, either consciously or not. Often these adversaries seem to swoop in out of nowhere and take you by surprise. People who fit this description could be (but are not limited to) team members who aren’t pulling their share and therefore could adversely affect your work products, people delaying getting something important done for you, people who are taking credit for your work, a boss who’s not giving you challenging assignments or visibility (and who may be taking credit for your work), and those who are actively sabotaging you in the organization. You will need to develop plans and strategies for dealing with the several types of people who are not on your side whom you may encounter over the course of your career.
Follow these moves, starting today, and you will be better positioned for the political situations that are inevitably part of your work environment.
Question: Have you had an experience navigating office politics? Have you used these or any other strategies? Or do you have a question or a tip? You can leave a comment by clicking here.