Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Office politics: The argument for getting political

Office politics has a bad reputation.

But here's the reality: politicking happens whether you like it or not. Yes, some people try to be noble and refuse to play the political game; they focus on their jobs and work hard in the hopes of being noticed and rewarded for their efforts. But sadly there are limited opportunities in the world of work and, more often than not, these sorts of people end up being overlooked or ignored – either by colleagues or important customers or both. Do you want to be overlooked or ignored?

Of course not.

Many purists refuse to play the political game, believing it to require underhand tactics and a malicious intent. But politics are not automatically bad. Politicking merely describes the act of scrutinising business relationships and learning how to influence others more effectively.

It usually involves going through informal channels rather than officially sanctioned ones, but that doesn't make it bad in and of itself.

Nor does politicking have to be selfish. You can use your understanding of politics to influence people and achieve goals that are good for the organisation as well as yourself. Even in the most friendly and supportive of organisations, people don't always agree – so having an understanding of politics and how to exert influence can help you to pull people together and achieve outcomes that are in the organisation's best interests too.

Anyway, if you want to read more on the topic, bits of this article are taken from a lengthier one that I wrote a few months ago for - happy reading!