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Dr. Greg Segment Summary

Office Politics      

Dr. Greg Ketchum, 11/6/04

I’ve never had anyone say to me that they just love office politics. In fact, most people hate the politics at work. Well, love them or not, office politics are a reality that you have to learn to deal with. However, I firmly believe that you can learn to play politics in the office in a positive way.

Office politics are really about how to get things done at work, how to exert influence. Don’t forget, there’s a difference between politics and dirty politics.

Today we’re talking about how to win at politics in the office without playing dirty.

Let’s start by talking about 3 of the top mistakes people make in office politics.

3 Top Office Politics Mistakes

  1. Ignore office politics all together.
  2. Play “dirty” politics where someone has to lose for someone to win.
  3. Assume that everyone operates on the basis of “doing what’s right.”

Now let’s talk about 3 of the basic rules of office politics.

3 Basic Rules of Office Politics

  1. Ignore office politics at your own peril
  2. You must learn to “read” the politics at work in order to survive.
  3. Nobody truly wins unless everybody wins.

Finally, here are 4 action steps you can take to win at office politics without playing dirty.

Action Steps

  1. Identify Advocates: Develop a network of allies across your organization who can "advocate" on your behalf when necessary and keep their ears open for information that is relevant for you.
  2. Play “Constructive” Politics: You get what you want by helping others get what they want. If you get what you want by damaging others you’re playing dirty politics and it will come back to bite you, i.e. karma, reap what you sow.
  3. Never make enemies on the way up. You'll see them again on the way down.
  4. Understand Other’s Motives: If someone is playing dirty politics with you find out their motives and see if there is another, positive, way to meet them. For example, maybe they just need recognition and don’t know how else to get it.
If All Else Fails And Someone if Playing Dirty Politics with You
  • Confront Dirty Politics: If someone is playing dirty politics at your expense confront them by using the “Colombo approach.”  Take them aside and say “I’ve heard that you did X and I can’t believe that. I’m a little confused. Can you help me understand this.” You’ve put them on notice that you’re onto their game.

Additional Resources

If you’ve got work or career topics you’d like to see us address just send me an email at drgreg@talentplanet.com.

®2004 All rights reserved. Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.

  
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Dr. Greg is the “KRON 4 (San Francisco) Workplace and Career Expert”

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