Everyone faces office politics ( internal politics ) when you belong to a company or organization. Some people are strong at office politics in the workplace, but most people are not good at it. You may wonder ‘’Why that man promotes faster than me nevertheless his knowledge and skill are not high.’’ How do they deal with matters in the workplace? How should you handle your friend and enemy in the organization? This time, I would like to take a look at the skills, tactics, and attitudes to win office politics.
Why do we need office politics?
Office politics ( Internal politics ) is needed for you to justify your thought and strategy in the workplace. Even if you make a good presentation and make a valid argument, it is common to lose your idea in front of your boss or management team. Unfortunately, what you learn at university, business school, and business books is not so useful in front of them.
Even if you tell your dissatisfaction with the unreasonableness and absurdity of society to your colleagues and family while drinking a glass of beer after work, nothing will change. Once you step into society, people don’t treat with you equally, like your school teacher and family. There is some atmosphere that it is natural to be treated equally in some countries like Japan, but there are few such good countries on this earth.
The purpose of studying is not to get good grades in school and pass exams. It’s to understand how this society works, to understand yourself, and to learn how to behave in a way that will lead to your success or happiness. People who acquire the necessary skills, turn adversity and failure into power, have the power to justify their own ideas, will stand out in society as people who are strong at internal politics.
What kind of skills do you need to win office politics?
You may believe that people, who are nasty guys and cunning guys, are good at internal office politics in the workplace. However, actually, they are the people who can control their emotions. It’s not an emotionless or cold person. It’s a person who doesn’t get swayed by emotions. Moreover, some skills, like push forward strongly, are required in order to carry out tactics to win whatever the background is.
- Ability to coordinate in the workplace: Ability to receive cooperation without being opposed by related internal parties.
- Ability to control subordinates: Ability to make subordinates obey one’s instructions
- Conciliation ability with boss: Ability to maintain a good relationship with superiors/management team and get their cooperation
- Internal personal connections: Ability to have many allies and get their cooperation
- Ability to manipulate power: The ability to strengthen relationships with management and communicate with them
- External connections: Connections with people in the industry (influential people such as experts and people in power)
There are some essential skills, such as presentation skills, public speeches, writing skills, logical thinking, debates, negotiations, compromise, in order to push through opinions or finding compromising point.
People, who are strong at office politics, always have power to make their boss rezognize their skill and value. It doesn’t matter if your boss is competent or incompetent, good or bad person. It is a presence that the boss understands you’re necessary for him/her. It also has the power to make people around you, including your rivals, recognize your value. If you were the boss, you will make sure that your subordinates follow your instruction, and you will manage them based on rewards and punishments.
Tactics of how to win office politics in the workplace ?
How to do in office politics? There are several tactics.
Form an alliance
In order to block the movement of opponents, make alliance with other parties which have the same enemy.
Disruption by information
Intentionally, spread negative rumours and information about the other party in the workplace in order to damage the other party’s reputation and to weaken their power.
Strength of the majority
In a democratic country, the majority rule is used heavily. In order to increase the number of members who agree with your thoughts in the workplace, tell your opponents in advance about your beliefs and background to shake them up and increase your chances of winning.
In order to contain the opponent’s movement, cooperate with the supply resource destination for the opponent and stop it. For example, the accounting department to stop financial matter, and public relations/marketing/IT department to stop necessary information.
Pressure from management
Personnel change to move opponent from current position to another one is allowed by management team. A solo approach is meaningless to convince your boss that things go your way. People, who have strong internal politics, take the approach of involving other colleagues who have strong relationships with their superiors and key persons in relevant departments. The point is to act as a group to convince their superiors.
The relationship between superiors and subordinates is an eternal challenge. I have previously written an article about the relationship between superiors and subordinates based on Han Fei Zhi philosophy, so please take a look later.
- People, who are strong at office politics ( internal politics ) in the workplace, control their emotions and accept and deal with social inequalities.
- In order to win office politics, you must sharp the necessary skills, develop effective tactics and gain experience.
- Don’t be discouraged if you fail.
Office politics have been going on everywhere as long as humans exist on the earth. Anglo-Saxon countries (the US, UK, Australia, etc.) have a tendency to consider internal politics in the workplace as a sport game. Knowledge/wisdom and interpersonal interaction are different skills. The winning skills cultivated in the workplace will surely be useful in other aspects of life. You’ll realize later in your life.