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Making Office Politics Work For You


“Office politics” is often considered a “dirty” word. Sometimes it is very rough and tumble business. But at other times it can be a positive force and it is important to learn how to use it to your advantage because it can be a formidable force in getting the right things done and done well. You owe it to yourself to become adept at working office politics. If you don’t like to play politics that is all right but you need to know how to do so to protect yourself and your department and to get your ideas across and to get them utilized.

You need to become politically savvy. And, you need to build a positive power base. To do these things you might want to use the following ideas:

  1. Map the territory being careful that your own personal map is not the whole territory. By that I mean that you need to broaden your own perception of things to take in the perceptions of all of the key players. Think in terms of stakeholders and what is important to them. What are their perspectives and what are they looking for in terms of office politics? In relation to your own ideas that you want to get support for, look carefully at the needs and perspectives of those stake holders. How will they react to your ideas? What will they want to get as a result of supporting your ideas? How will your ideas impact their areas and their needs? How will their goals and their agendas be affected?
  2. Expect some push back. You will not have everybody’s support. Try to adjust your ideas to provide some benefits to all of the stake holders without losing your core concepts. This will help you appeal to each stakeholder in terms of his own needs and goals.
  3. Be careful to differentiate between those who support your idea and your implementation plans and those who don’t. You also need to be away of people who support one and not the other. Work with them rather than against them to find a compromise that will still benefit most players.
  4. Build support for your ideas. Get people on board and in harmony so you have a core coalition of supporters. You will not only build support for your ideas but you will also build support for yourself as a capable thought leader.
  5. Establish your power and power base by working with and through others. Leverage your power to make your organization a better place to work and grow.

This is a process that will take some time and political savvy to accomplish. You will probably be most successful at it by hiring an experienced executive coach to help you through the process and the sticky places.