Prime the pump
October 4, 2022
To deal with workplace politics you need to become a politician too!

RECENTLY, I asked an individual how she was. Her response was “there are so many things going on in my head. I am overwhelmed by the office politics at my workplace.”

Maybe you have heard or maybe you were the one making comments such like, “I can’t deal with all the office politics in my company.” “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” “To get ahead, you have to be constantly playing the right games and aligning yourself strategically.”

The reality is those assertions are true and if you have echoed them – you are right.

Several years ago, as a young professional, I was put off by blatant strategic moves of office politicians in the company I worked with. I thought it was so unfair and I wanted to have nothing to do with the players and with office politics.

One day, in conversation with my boss, he said to me, “fussing over office politics would not change the price of eggs nor would it help you.You need to become a politician too. Becoming a politician does not mean that you must play dirty, but it takes you out of a position of being influenced by political moves to being the influencer. It moves you from a position of guessing what is going on to a position of knowing what is going on. From a position of being controlled to being the controller.” My boss said sometimes you must pretend that you are a fan of people you detest.

However, it was through experience that I truly understood the dynamics of office politics. I discovered that I couldn’t escape it and that it will take an interest in me whether I took an interest in it or not. I also discovered that office politics meant knowing how to pick my battles determining which battles could be won and at what cost, who to challenge and how often should I put up a challenge. It meant that I must recognize the players within the organization and their areas of influence. It meant I understood the advantage of relationship building and nurturing. After all, “Office politics is not what you think I am doing; it’s why you think I am doing it.” Inside Out – people performance.

Last week we looked at office politicians as identified by Accountemps and shared their suggestions on how to best manage them. Today, we draw from Lucio Buffalmano’s article on The Power Moves, titled “7 Steps to Master Office Politics: A field Guide.”

Buffalmano concluded that office politics and politically savvy career strategies are crucial to your career succession. One of the steps shared was “know who matters:The org Power Chart.”

According to Buffalmano, you need to know who matters around you and where you stand in relation to others.You are always at the centre of your personal chart and it’s important for you to know who you should be networking with, who you should be careful around and who can give you the opportunities that will change your career for the better.

Buffalmano recommended that you personalize the organizational chart and start there. He said, “What you need to keep in mind when drawing your power map is that not all job positions are created equal.

“And the momentum of the people filling those roles is paramount. Some people are stationery, some others are on the upswing, while some others are going downward -or are on their way out.

As a general rule, the ones who are going down, no matter their position, not only are useless, but are actively harmful. They are going down because they ‘pissed’ someone very powerful. It can take years to recover from a demotion, and most never recover. Just to be on the safe side, don’t get too close to them. Instead, you want to associate with those going up. They are the winning faction, those who are friends with those still higher up, and those who can soon bring you up as well.”