Is office politics always a bad thing?
I think we can all agree that most workplaces are at least somewhat political. It’s also true that some people get involved in politics in a nasty way: putting others down, spreading rumours, keeping secrets and so on.
But I have helped more than a few clients to discover that they can get ahead without doing anything underhand. I suggest a change in mind-set. Just think about two steps:
- Spending more time building relationships by meeting and getting to know more people.
- And then gathering people’s opinions and lobbying them through informal conversations (rather than formal meetings).
Does that sound so difficult? Hopefully not. So give it a go.
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- Make time every week to have at least one lunch or coffee with someone outside of your usual group of friends at work. You don’t have to do this in a conniving way. Just think about genuinely trying to get to know someone and finding things in common in order to make a new friend.
- Before you present any new idea at a formal meeting, try to get some informal thoughts and advice on how best to present it. Your friends will be too supportive, so ask at least one or two people you think of as neutral for advice on your ideas.
- Ask colleagues for their feedback on you as a person. People love to be asked for their opinions! So the next time one of your ideas gets turned down, ask someone for 5 minutes of their time to give you some advice on how you came across and how you could do better next time. But be sure to accept the feedback with good grace and thank the person for their opinions!