Being politically savvy is not just a talent that politicians need. If you want to get ahead in your career, you also have to understand office politics. Everything that goes on behind the scenes is just as important as what people say. It’s a critical skill that plays an important role in your ongoing work relationships and career development.
Carefully Navigating the Waters
Drama is never something that you should seek out as you move along your career path. Politically savvy workers know how to navigate the political waters without getting pulled into sticky situations. Smart leaders are able to be realistic about workplace politics while staying above them. Take the sometimes less interesting approach and avoid getting too involved in the office drama.
The Employee Handbook Will Not Help
The employee handbook might include every official workplace rule, but there are a number of unwritten rules that matter as well. These invisible rules may play a factor in whether you get that next promotion. Humans exist according to certain social dynamics. You should have strong emotional intelligence if you want to understand the underlying communication and conflicts that exist at work. When it comes to politics, you do not have to play dirty to get ahead. You just have to make sure that you aware of the potential missteps along the way.
Listen at the Water Cooler
While you do not want to waste too much time gossiping, the politically savvy employees know that gossip can warn you about potential problems. If your boss loves classic cars, the office gossip can alert you to it before you disparage your employer’s favorite hobby. Keep your ears open, and you can pick up on information that can help you navigate the waters so to speak.
Know the Gatekeepers
Your boss might determine your next promotion, but there are other people who can influence your success. They might be the people who determine which issues are a priority. You want to make a good impression and have allies in the workplace. There are some key decision makers that you would like to notice your performance. Don’t be shy, promoting your accomplishments in a tactful way is important. Make a point to have these people on your side.
Learn When to Be Quiet
If you want to be a success, you have to know when to be quiet. The only way that you will ever garner information is by listening to the people around you. Once you know the lay of the land, you can start to open up and hone your skills.
Listen to Your Instincts
When you are new to the office, you do not know who dislikes who or where the strategic alliances are the strongest. As you learn more, you have to trust your instincts. If something seems off, pause before you make your move. Your instincts can guide you through the political waters.
Make Strategic Partnerships
You have to gather your own support network if you want to further your career. The right people can introduce you to others who can help your career, find a new position or network with people of influence.
Having an understanding of office politics will help you learn and engage in behaviors that influence others and can serve to enhance your career. Being politically savvy is important of course, however strong performance and a commitment to high quality work is critical as well. Listen for the subtleties and take charge of your career.