10 Tips To Make Office Politics Work For You

“You don’t have an option to pay attention to (office) politics if you want to excel,” organizational psychologist and coach Dr. Jennifer Wisdom explained in an in-depth interview recently on my podcast. At least “play defensive politics, or you’ll actually lose ground.”

What are “office politics” exactly? It’s how work is done, by whom and when. “Office politics is the game that’s being played, “ Wisdom said, “It’s who gets the plum assignments, who get to go to fun conferences and which meetings, and how everyone talks to each other.” The role of politics is “enormous in women’s advancement,” she emphasized.

So, how do you figure out what the office politics dynamics are in your organization? 

If there is one theme to all the advice I’ve heard from the hundreds of experts I’ve interviewed, including Wisdom, and found in my own Fortune 500 career, it’s observe. Observe every interpersonal dynamic, every reaction, every word choice, every decision, and allocation of resources.

Specifically, here are 5 things to look for, followed by 5 strategies to employ to deal with office politics:

What to watch and listen for:

Jennifer Wisdom

Strategies you can employ:

The more you observe, listen, focus only on what matters, and play fair, the better your chances are to get where you want to go.

To listen to my full interview with Jennifer Wisdom on my podcast, Green Connections Radio, click here or on Apple Podcasts.