Be involved in office politics or fall behind

by 27 Feb 2012

A new study has suggested that whether you're running for office or just working in one, it pays to be a good politician.

More than 70% of workers say being involved in office politics plays a role in getting ahead, a new survey by recruitment firm Robert Half has revealed. According to Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, there is some degree of politics at play in virtually every organisation. “The savviest professionals practise workplace diplomacy. They remain attuned to political undercurrents but don't allow themselves to get pulled into situations that could compromise their working relationships or reputation,” he said.

5 tips for navigating office politics

1. Build a broad coalition of support. In an effort to impress your company's power players, don't overlook those at the grassroots level. Lobby for the respect and trust of all your colleagues. Forget strong alliances by sharing credit for successes and delivering on your promises. You never know whose endorsement or vote of confidence couldbenefit your career in the future.

2. Avoid smear campaigns. Gossiping or outright mudslinging is only guaranteed to damage one person's credibility: yours. When you're upset or frustrated, wait until after you've calmed down to express yourconcerns. Be direct but tactful, focusing on facts rather than feelings.

3. Stay true to your values. It's an unfortunate truth that there are those who'll do anything to "win," but character and credibility count. You don't need to play underhanded games to rise through the ranks.

4. Connect with your constituencies. Smart candidates tailor their message and approach to the audience. Apply the same tactic to your co-workers; observe their unique work styles, priorities and communication preferences -- and be willing to adapt your approach.

 5. Play by the rules. Seemingly minor slipups can have big implications on the campaign trail and at work. Avoid sticky situations by paying close attention to office protocol at your firm. If you take a misstep, make amends quickly.


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