November 28, 2016
Navigating Office Politics Like a Pro
Here is a sample from my current project list of the office politics my clients are struggling with: 1) how to work with an executive who is "conflict averse" and refuses to delineate roles and responsibilities for his executives; 2) how and when to go around the boss to let his boss know that he is incompetent; and 3) how to approach and coach a wildly successful sales executive who makes inappropriate remarks.

"Anytime you have two people in a room you have politics..."

Just as there was no way to avoid presidential election politics this season, there is no way to avoid office politics. While many of my clients wish they could do so, and complain that their organization is "too political", avoidance is futile. Anytime you have two people in a room you have politics, so there is no way to move to a place where you won't have to understand how to surf these waves. Your best strategy is to learn how to navigate the shark-filled waters like a pro.
What Should You Do? 
  • Accept the inevitable. "Politics" is simply understanding how people use (or abuse) power and influence.
  • Develop relationships before you need them. Cross party lines. Take the opposition to lunch. Be a person who has a reputation for listening and learning from all sides of a dispute.
  • Work behind the scenes. Attend Friday night drinks after work, ask for introductions to influential power brokers and develop relationships with "sponsors", people who might help you sell your own projects to the powers that be.
  • Find out who really counts. Ask questions about the decision making process: Who influenced this decision last time? Who speaks up in meetings? How are decisions made?
  • Don't assume that you can just keep your head down and do good work. The higher you go up the food chain, the more that advancement may depend upon factors other than merit. Don't complain and whine about the unfairness of this reality, learn to build solid relationships. People make decisions based on relationships, not just skill, talent or work ethic. 

Did You Know?

Our workshops on conflict, as well as our leadership classes, focus on relationship building skills, 
and how to navigate thorny political conundrums. 

For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or 
[email protected]

Be sure to read Lynne's helpful book "The Power of a Good Fight" 
about embracing conflict to drive productivity, creativity and innovation.

Workplaces That Work | (303) 216-1020 | [email protected] 
3985 Wonderland Hill Suite 106 Boulder, CO 80304
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Workplaces That Work, 3985 Wonderland Hill, Suite 106, Boulder, CO 80304
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