Have you observed that at the company, it is not always the brightest or the most hardworking employees that rise fast or to the top?
Often it is those that have other soft skills, including the mastery of corporate politics. Many of us ‘forgive’ ourselves when ignorant in this field of corporate politics by branding it ‘useless’, or ‘unnecessary’.
But the reality, as argues Victor Cheng below, is that corporate politics is a constant in any organisation and you cannot do without it. You better master the art of working in an environment where corporate politics is the order of the day.
Corporate politics will vary from company to company. However, the underlying principles are the same as rightly outlined by Victor Cheng.
When you change jobs, you need still to observe the unique features of the corporate politics at the new organisation.
When new leaders and managers join, observe the change in the corporate politics. When some staff get promoted, observe the changes in the political field at your organisation. When you get promoted too, learn the new politics that may impact your job.
While this is true, I argue that you focus much more on being of value to and on delivery at the organisation. Let your mastery of the politics be great but not the primary avenue through which you want to advance your career.
There are people who solely depend on corporate politics for the advancement of their personal careers, even at the expense of other people’s peace, joy and success. That is not commendable at all. We need to play it fair.
Good luck as you master the art of corporate politics and to do so, read below what Victor Cheng writes about Corporate politics:
When most people hear the words “corporate politics,” it’s usually perceived as a negative.
I don’t think this is the right way to think of politics. It doesn’t matter if corporate politics is good or bad.
What matters is that regardless of your view on it, it exists and must be managed in order for you to manage your career effectively.
I encourage you to think of corporate politics in a different way.
Rather than thinking of it as gamesmanship, think of it as various people in an organisation all trying to get their needs met.
If the VP of Sales really wants to hit quota for the fiscal year, should he be considered “political”?
I don’t think so.
If the VP of Engineering wants to hit the product release date on time, should she be considered “political”?
I don’t think so.
As my former organisational behaviour professor repeatedly emphasised to me, anytime there are two people in a room, there’s politics.
The far more useful question to ask is: how do you be effective in a corporate political environment?
What is the framework for understanding the political landscape?
How do you build allies?
How do you harness political capital and power when you lack formal authority?
The people in senior roles are not always the most talented people in the organisation.
They are, however, often quite good at navigating corporate politics… or rather, they are very good at helping other people in the organisation get their needs met in a way that also serves themselves.
That is the secret of being good at corporate politics.
To learn how to be effective at navigating political environments, I suggest getting my “How to Excel as a Rising Star in Industry Toolkit.”
It provides useful frameworks, skills, and techniques to accelerate your career in industry. It includes multiple frameworks and tools for effectively navigating corporate politics to meet your own personal goals.