Hard working employees may not want to hear this, but keeping your head down or concentrating solely on the job at hand is a strategy for failure. You may want to avoid office politics, but all it really means is that you’re limiting your own success.
“Office politics” is the way in which humans interact with one another in any workplace. Being involved in office politics doesn’t have to be cold and calculating. It is simply about forming alliances with those around you, which means you’re more likely engaged in your role, helping you to do it better and have a more successful career.
So the most important tip concerning office politics is to get good at it. Do what real politicians do – form strategic alliances. Establish relationships with some peers, some superiors, and some below you in the hierarchy. Go out of your way to help a person you like or respect.
Michelle Yozzo Drake, CEO Cove Communication, says “You need to find someone in your organisation that has the same kind of characteristics that you do, but is incredibly successful in a position of power. They have figured out how to tap into their strengths and get the exposure they need. That’s the kind of person that you want to model yourself after; you want to watch; you want to learn”.
Once you’ve forged a link with this person, ask them to help you. That may lead to a link with somebody else as well. If not, create a second link yourself, and the third. Cultivate these relationships. No matter how well you do your job, you’re going to need allies to help you up the ladder. That’s why you need to be involved in office politics.
This article first appeared on Women in the Black.
Tamia Gallego is the founder and director of Women in the Black.