Playing ‘The Game’ – Are Office Politics Always Bad?

Woman Throwing Paper Airplane at CoworkerEveryone hates a brown-noser, a backstabber, and a suck up.  Usually these terms apply to people who do things – no matter how unethical – to climb the so-called corporate ladder.  But what about those of us who want to advance, are very good at our jobs, but are somehow stuck?

The short answer is to overcome being afraid and put yourself out there.  After doing a little research on this subject, I learned that we all play the game, we all get involved in office politics – some more than others and for different reasons.  For example, one day you see a great, new position has opened up and is now listed on the job board at work.  This is what you’ve been waiting for.  What are you going to do?  You may call someone you know in HR that can tell you more about this job.  They not only give you the 411 about the position, but they let you know how many people have applied so far and how you stack up.

You inform your current boss (who has always encouraged advancement) that you’re interested in this position.  He is excited for you and promises he will personally put in a good word for you as well as write a letter of recommendation if necessary.  You wouldn’t say no to this offer, would you?  You just played the game.  So you see, it’s not bad or evil based on if you play but how you play.  In other words, no dirty tactics allowed.

4 Things You Don’t Do to Win

  • Don’t take sides – Focus on the business.  Steer both parties back to the middle.  This move will build trust.
  • Don’t take it personal – Remember negative behavior on your part will only hurt you in the long run.
  • Don’t think you know or understand before you really do – Be a good listener.
  • Don’t think I must win at all cost – Try instead to go for the win-win for both sides, even if both sides have to compromise a little.

4 Things to Do to Win

  • Network – both above and below you.
  • Get a mentor – someone you respect.
  • Initiate something fun at your workplace.
  • If you lack courage, work on that.  Learn to speak up.
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