Four Tips to Navigate Office Politics

You might not be able to do much to influence national politics, but office politics are another story. The ability to successfully navigate office politics can help your career in a myriad of ways—but it helps to know how the gears of the political machine turn at your workplace. Check out these four tips to learn how to successfully navigate office politics so you can move up in the hierarchy and gain more influence in your workplace.

  1. Learn the dynamics among your coworkers and higher-ups before jumping in. An article on MindTools.com suggests you should listen more than you talk. This allows you to find out who already has power, who gets along with whom, and who is really getting things done. Watch and wait for the perfect opportunity to really shine while you build relationships and quietly get down to business.
  2. Don’t play dirty. Monster.com explains the payoff that comes from keeping your political moves positive. Rather than looking for ways to make other people at the company look bad so you’ll look better by comparison, focus on making sure you look good. Keep your eyes open for ways to help a coworker, ask higher-ups for counsel and feedback, and always do your best—especially on projects with high visibility.
  3. Think of it as psychology, not politics. In a radio interview and article on wnyc.org, business psychology professor and Hogan Assessments CEO Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explains that three basic human needs drive interpersonal relationships at work: to get along with others, to get ahead, and to find meaning. When those needs are in balance within a company, he says, employees are more productive and engaged—so it’s to your benefit to do your part to uphold the balance. “If you’re too political, you’ll self-destruct,” Chamorro-Premuzic says.
  4. Avoid the politics altogether. Office politics aren’t for everyone, and according to an article on Forbes.com, working in an environment that aligns with your personality and beliefs makes it easier to find personal and professional satisfaction. If the atmosphere around your office is uncomfortable to you, consider seeking a new opportunity somewhere else. And you won’t be alone—according to the article, more than 40 percent of workers believe you don’t need to play the game to get ahead.