Office politics can make or break your career, you have to be smart about it.
Office politics can be termed as the use of power and social networking within an organization to achieve changes that benefit the organization or individuals within it. You cannot really avoid politics since it’s practically a way of life despite having its pros and cons. It’s therefore important to pay attention to it as it may likely impact your career.
Most men see it as a culture and a means of career progression whereas women may term office politics as dirty, manipulative, evil and a waste of time. Office politics can make or break your career, you have to be smart about it.
You have to be politically savvy, you don’t have to compromise your integrity or values. You just have to learn it. What does it take to be politically savvy you wonder? First and foremost, it requires you to pay attention. Understand that your work alone will not get you promoted. You must be aware of what’s going on in your company or organization. Work well with others, build relationships all around the office but mostly with key stakeholders.
Pay attention to these three things.
1. Power and Influence. In terms of who has it over your career in terms of decisions concerning your career. Who influences these decisions? Power and influence are constantly shifting so make sure you stay tuned into the dynamics in the office. Create visibility with the influencers. Build a strategic network of allies and champions who advocate for you and support your initiatives and advancement.
2. The Rules, whether written or unwritten ones. What rules are sacred? What does it take to get ahead in your company, in your department? What type of behavior is rewarded? What behavior is not rewarded, especially for an ambitious lady? Is it acceptable to be assertive and speak your opinion in meetings? This information is invaluable for you to position yourself successfully for a promotion.
3. The Culture. What is the culture at your company? In terms of how people interact, office classes, mode of communication, working hours, dispute resolutions mechanisms. Is the culture conservative, innovative, or hierarchical? Is the company aligned with your values? And most importantly, will you have the opportunity to showcase your talent in this environment? Do you have the potential to thrive at this company or are the cards stacked against you?
Basically, make friends and links that will benefit your career and ease your work experience at that organization. Do your job perfectly and impeccably. If the culture isn’t as good, you can try and change it for the better by introducing improvement strategies obviously through the right channels. If some colleagues try and gang up on you or try to sabotage your work, do not sink to their level but instead rise above them and if it’s something that should be reported then do so.
Workplace politics may break or make you, play smart!