In my previous article on Office Politics, I touched on the advantages of being politically savvy within the workplace, you can read that article here. Now if you were wondering how to go about that without getting your hands dirty, this is for you. Here are the 6 ways to win at office politics without playing dirty.
Draw up a strategic networking plan to build relationships and high quality connections with the political influencers within your organization. Avoid spoilers like empty flattery, and don’t make the relationship only about what they can do for you – it has to be a ‘give and take’ arrangement. Build relationships across functions and hierarchy, remain friendly with everyone but avoid aligning yourself with any specific clique.
Use your connections to influence decisions in your favour and open up opportunities for you and your team without bringing others down or bad mouthing them, this can be done by self-promoting yourself and gaining visibility within your organisation. Sometimes, it’s these connections that will put in a word for you when an opportunity for promotion arise. Remember to be good at your game, so they can trust that you will deliver at every opportunity given.
When you are proposing a new idea/ project, identify all the relevant stakeholders whose approval will be required or who can influence management’s decision. Engage them informally or indirectly first, so as to have a feel of those who may support and those who may object to the decision. Understand the concerns of those who may object, and find a way to compromise or adjust your idea for the common good. Talk to those who are more likely to support you and motivate them to influence others – especially those who are not in your camp.
Once you think you have garnered enough buy-in for the project, engage the stakeholders formally in dialogue, organize meetings and brainstorming sessions. Remember that the goal is not to have a 100 percent support for your idea – that may never happen, the goal is to gather enough support for your idea so as to obtain management’s approval.
As much as you are to keep abreast of the office politicking happening around you, try very hard not to join and/or become a channel for fueling negative politics. Your only business with negative politics is protecting yourself and your team.
Be a positive organizational change agent. Remain professional at all times and treat everyone fairly regardless of what you may have heard about them or your perception of them. Don’t take sides nor pass on rumours.
In voicing your concerns or criticisms, always present it from an organisational perspective rather than a personal one, this is so you don’t come off as selfish, rather, as one who is working in the interest of management and the organisation.
Finally, always remember to be your authentic self as you navigate the political waters of your organisation.
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