Life Is a Game You Play: Mastering Office/Social Politics

We chatted about our kids, our recent trips to India, and New York. He came to my office as a distant boss and left a guy in the trenches right with us, working to accomplish a common goal. We ended up with a pledge of more money and staff! I was friendly, made him comfortable, and played the office politics game; to myadvantage. I never "sucked up" or kissed his butt. I just treated him with respect and made him one of "us". I made time for the visit, listened to what the boss had to say, and was truly interested in his opinions and thoughts.

I had a better understanding of his position and he of mine. But hey, if your comapny has one, you have to go. Posted by Benjamin Strong on January 25, at 2: Payoffs can be part of politics as well.

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And I used to work for an Indian guy who told me that in India nothing happens without a bribe. Does it enter the workplace as well as b2b? Posted by Recruiting Animal on January 25, at 5: Personally, I do not really like office politics, however I do agree that if you do not play, you will be cast out. Be an insider, stick to your principles, treat people with respect, do not back stab other people, there are many levels of politicking, at the extreme may just be your water cooler talk and gossiping and at the other extreme, it may be back stabbing a colleague to vie for a promotion.

Pick the level that you want to play on, which does not violate your morals or ethics. Posted by Eric on January 25, at However, there can be different levels of participation. One area where I found office politics absolutely essential is taking credit. And you can be sure that somebody else is taking it.

Every time you do something good, make sure it becomes known, otherwise nobody will realize how awesome you are for doing it: Posted by Alexander Kharlamov on January 26, at Do you have any tips about where to draw the line and stop speaking up about your achievements? What we really need is someone who can build effective relationships with other departments. This is obviously more difficult for natural introverts. Posted by Caitlin on January 26, at 4: I used to work in an office but I was always criticized for not having friends at work. My goal was to become an educator but the office did not support said goal so my college friends told me to keep my mouth shut and do my job.

I did do my job correctly but I had no idea how to participate at a meeting. Posted by Snake on March 30, at 9: As someone who has spent his whole career evaluating talent and building teams to evaluate talent, effective interpersonal skills and managing office relationships are one of the consistent gaps or deficiencies that I see people struggle with at all levels, from individual contributors just out of college to executive leadership.

The new book Conscious Business by Fred Kofman is a must read for people interested in this topic. The Kofman book explores this in great detail, and for me personally, provided a level of self-awareness regarding these principles that I did not expect. Posted by Jason Warner on January 26, at 1: Peter, thanks for introducing birth order theory here. I am a big fan of birth order theory even though when I interviewed the king of birth order research, Frank Sulloway, he would confirm very little.

Posted by peter vajda on January 26, at 1: Listen rather than talk.

How to Master Office Politics and Win Big

Do what matters to the other person. We need to learn to play the game of work in an honest, authentic manner. Posted by Dave on January 26, at 4: It now dawns on me as to why I am in the midst of "a slow, painful career death" in my short 10yrs out of school. One is nice to go to, if you can swing it. You just need to make genuine connections with a lot of individual people at work. Each person will have something in common with you if you dig around enough. Find that thing and really make it matter. The important part of this advice is that you have to allow for a significant portion of each of your work days to be devoted to building relationships.

I applaud your honest effort in the social arena. One of the biggest indicators of whether someone will succeed socially is if they have huge intent to. So you are doing fine for yourself in that regard. Posted by Adam on January 26, at 8: Yesterday at a friends house there was an experience shared of a boss who never tolerates dissent of any sort. If one does that, either one gets transferred out of the group or out of the job.

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Even in an extreme case like this, there is no point in trying to change your boss. You can work with that. Posted by Gautam Ghosh on January 28, at However, everyone else seems to have moved on to better stuffs except me. I always thought of myself as the longest nobody working in my department. And of course I refuse to play the game…always thinking that my hard work and long hour sacrifice would someday pay off….

And so I have decided to join the inevitable and see how far it might take me. Thank you again for the enlightened post.

Give your teams a really useful intranet.

Posted by CKWong on January 29, at While I like this post on principle, I think the issue of politics is getting conflated with being stuck on a dead-end track. There are many reasons one can get stuck running in place forever, and quite a few of them have little to do with politics. If you take any company over a five year period and you look at who moves up the ladder and when, some obvious patterns will emerge. Lots of jobs lead sideways no matter who holds them or how hard they work.

How Winners Play Politics

One of the worst beatings I ever took in my career happened largely because I underestimated the willingness of a certain person to repeatedly question my competency behind my back. My general experience is that the more competent people are, the less of this goes on, which gives some sense of when you have to be most on guard for it. What I like about your comment is that you lay out so many different aspects of office politics.

And the best way to move yourself from a bad position to a good position is via office politics: Find out where the good positions are, find out who can get you there, and befriend them. No matter what, it starts with politics. The worst thing to do in a career is to approach a problem thinking you have no control over it. You can control everything becuase you choose how you work and you choose where you work. The fine tuning of all this is the politics. Posted by Colin Kingsbury on January 29, at 3: Thanks for your response.

Office politics is about being nice | Penelope Trunk Careers

I think that most people recognize a difference between positive politics, where people are maneuvering for ends that are broadly well-intentioned, and negative politics, where people are seeking private advantage or working from more mixed motives. Posted by Colin Kingsbury on January 29, at 4: I like this post quite a bit and think that you are absolutely correct that nobody can afford to ignore office politics. Similar to Colin, I think, I have noticed that the people who complain about office politics the most are people that:.

I think, in the right environment, office politics can be challenging. In the wrong environment, it can be debilitating. A better use of emotional capital would be an honest self-assessment and work toward finding a new job that is a better fit. Posted by Carter Cathey on February 15, at Posted by Timothy Johnson on March 14, at 2: Secondly, and more importantly, your other comments bring up the exact thing that I hate about office politics: My main issue is when you have to do that kind of thing to jackass superiors for which you have little respect or that you may even downright despise.

I started working at Google a couple of months back as a software engineer. I am sick of all the politics. What should I do? I n the last post , we talked about why some people quit working at Google and get a job somewhere else. According to Fortune , Google is the number one best place to work in America—and maybe the world. Office politics, to be exact. One former Googler after another takes to Quora to complain about how difficult it is to get things done over there.

And the most common solution is to quit and go work for a startup. Working for a startup is no church choir practice, either. There are no perfect companies. Office politics can mean different things.

Comments (39)

Because Google aspires to be a strict meritocracy, it has policies, procedures, and special committees designed to eradicate human error in hiring and promotions. Ironically, this has led to many people shamelessly gaming the system. At Google however, in some sense, you decide when you get promoted. You are the master of your career, and you must learn how to choose your projects, demonstrate the necessary qualities ex: You had to use your brain and computer science knowledge to get in. This, combined with the dreaded perf cycle that everyone hates doing, causes serious morale issues.

There is a lot of power hungry folks using their brain power for advancing their own careers. It looks as though Google provides its employees with well-rounded schooling in office politics. I wish more people stayed there long enough to take full advantage of this amazing opportunity—and then moved on to other jobs. I feel that, contrary to the industry folklore, playing politics is becoming a lost art. Too many people are missing this valuable skill as it is, and the more gooey-eyed and millennial we get as a society, the less hope we have of perfecting our game.

The reason I say this is all the snags I hit when selling intranet software to large and medium-sized businesses. Do you know the number one question I get from those folks? Buyer, just before I board the plane to fly across the country to give you a one-hour presentation. How the hell should I know the answer? I say none of that out loud.

Instead, I tell you that your boss is welcome to call me anytime, as many times as it takes. In the meantime, you could make your job and mine a lot easier by learning to navigate your office politics. Dive into our case study with the Norwegian Consulate General in Houston, who supercharged their shipping conference Our latest EdTrends report is out!

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