OFFICE POLITICS – GOOD or BAD? In almost every working environment we are faced with office politics. It seems to find a way of involving us and usually not by choice. The key to coping with these circumstances without crossing any ethical boundaries is to first and foremost decide what is of importance to you- the short term chance of promotion or the long term value of your professional development, which can take a life time to build but can serve as inspiration for life times to come. Some people think that they should avoid office politics all together, but statistics have shown that those who understand and use these politics are more likely to succeed than those who dismiss it all together. As Andrew DuBrin once said “to ignore office politics is to ignore those underlining forces that account for the differences in success between equally talented people”. There are two different types of office politics, good and bad. Which ever one you choose to participate in is solely up to you. First you must distinguish between the two. Bad politics can consist of: • Withholding or delaying information that may be needed • Deliberately holding meetings or making decisions without all parties necessary • Arranging scenarios that make others look bad or set them up for failure • Discrediting the efforts of others or taking credit when it is not deserved • Not delivering on promises made or denying the legitimate requests of others for your benefit • Giving false support or advice in order to serve your own agenda • Complaining, criticizing, wasting time on gossiping or harassing others Good politics can consist of: • Going out of your way to insure the success of others even when it serves no purpose or benefit to you • Building trust, the key to building trust is through consistency and understanding • Your peers feeling comfortable to come to you with their questions and or issues • Creating a lighter environment in times of stress • Seeing things through to the end, not abandoning people mid way To show leadership you must first of all understand office politics as well as the times to participate in it. In the CMC leadership course, it points out 7 steps to winning at office politics while protecting yourself: 1. Pinpoint what you want and why 2. Identify who controls what you need 3. Find out who can get you what you need 4. Figure out what you need to do what you want 5. Go for it with determination and resolve 6. Watch out for the harmful politics of others as you go (ethical) 7. Protect yourself along the way Circumstances we face in life can take away everything we have worked hard to acquire; everything except our name, for it is the essence of who we are. The only way we can lose this is if we make the conscious decision and are willing to give it up. So in the end you must ask yourself, is a promotion worth your name?