Embrace Office Politics

Let’s be real. Every workplace is political, and the higher up the organizational chart you go, the more political the workplace gets. That’s because there’s more at stake. The higher up you go, the more things get accomplished by virtue of relationships and positioning. Bodacious Women know that the higher up you go in an organization, the more office politics you get. They also know that the question isn’t whether to play, but how.

Copyright (c) 2007 Mary Foley

“Bodacious” means to be bold,Embrace Office Politics Articles outstanding, and remarkable. Take those attributes to work and you’re on your way to building a fulfilling, bodacious career. Does having a bodacious career sound exciting to you? It is! After starting as an $8 an hour customer service rep, I rose through the ranks of AOL, accepting four promotions and surviving over six layoffs to become the head of corporate training for 12,000 employees. Along the way I learned I needed to be bodacious to achieve the career I wanted. Out of that experience I created my “cheat sheet” of the essential Bodacious Career Builders. Here’s another: Embrace Office Politics

I try not to dwell on this too much. But had I known this sooner, this little bit of intelligence may have prevented a lot of angst and propelled my career to even higher levels: Office politics can be a good thing.

Surprised? Me, too. If I had been a little more savvy about how I could make office politics work for me, I might have avoided the glass ceiling and stayed at AOL a little longer. I might have achieved the title of Director or even VP. But no. For 10 years, I operated as though my job was to get the work done with passion and to be a team player in helping AOL realize its big vision.

In my noble naïveté, like a good foot soldier who’s not completely concentrating on where she’s going, I tripped and fell on my own sword. Was I skewered by someone else’s scheming? Was this something to blame someone else for? I don’t think so. I was just so focused on the greater mission of the work at hand that I didn’t take steps to show my boss that I was also capable of strategizing a plan for the future. You don’t need a nasty conniver to be on the losing side of a political game. Sometimes you just have to be dedicated to your work.

I finally realized that office politics is simple – relationships plus power. Now, I’m all for good relationships at work, most women are. I strove to create deliberate relationships for my Bodacious Career that could help me move forward. Sometimes this is a challenge, but all in all, it doesn’t press my ‘good girl’ buttons.

But, power, that’s another story! It’s evil, right? Well, it can be. It’s not as if we don’t have enough stories about power being abusive, harmful or strictly self-serving. Admittedly, that’s one side of power. But there’s another side of power.

Let’s be real. Every workplace is political, and the higher up the organizational chart you go, the more political the workplace gets. That’s because there’s more at stake. The higher up you go, the more things get accomplished by virtue of relationships and positioning. Bodacious Women know that the higher up you go in an organization, the more office politics you get. They also know that the question isn’t whether to play, but how.

Consider that, on a day-to-day basis, office politics can:

-Allow people at all levels of the organization to move up and around, because politics can give individuals the opportunity to get recognized.

-Help managers support their employees through acquiring the resources they need to get the job done and serve as a buffer between the employees and pressures from higher-ups.

-Help the company as a whole succeed as senior level leaders use politics to cultivate support and enthusiasm for company initiatives.

In other words “office politics” is just another way of spelling “leadership”. And that’s a good thing! Like leadership, political acumen is the artful technique of making people feel good about themselves while they are helping you. It is a form of plugged-in power that is created when we are trusted and have built a track record that says, “You can count on me.” We may use the strategies of office politics to gain a competitive advantage in our own careers, but in most cases, we gain from office politics only if what we do ultimately benefits the company, its employees, and stakeholders.

These are just a few of the positive affects of leveraging the power of office politics. Perhaps you can think of more. But, none are possible unless we accept that office politics is a fact within any organization and that it can be a good thing. Don’t let the ‘good girl’ hold you back. Embrace office politics.

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Should students join Indian Politics?

For all those youngsters who don’t have a political background, student organisations, unions and college level politics spell the gates to enter the real political world.

The political stage of our country is fraught with many complicated issues. Corruption,Should students join Indian Politics? Articles bureaucracy, violence and lack of empathy with the masses at the grassroots levels are some of the prominent features. Floor- crossing and switching of loyalties have become the order of the day.

Add a new dimension to the game of politics students and we have a new concoction of a dangerous political era that could affect our political as well economic lives for long times to come.

Politics in the college has become a hotbed of regional and national level political manipulations. Elections in the students unions of the colleges and the universities are in fact, proxy wars of the major political parties. Money, hooliganism, violence and gaudy promotions of Candidates in the elections of Students’ Councils are some of the prominent characteristics of elections held in colleges and universities. The educational schedules take a backseat and struggle for power takes ugly proportions in many cases.

Why students take to politics? For example, why should there be elections in an engineering college whose students are unlikely to join a political party ? The students of arts and politics are likely to be interested in this profession. But wastage of time and energy is an important issue. This wastage leads the students to ill-planned careers as they suffer on account of their poor performances on the academic front.

However, only some of the students join active politics later. The politicians milk them during their college days and leave them without any career when they join a political party. After all, a social worker of a political party remains a social worker. However, he has no support from his party for building his future or even for meeting his basic needs. He has to take up a profession or a, vocation in order to survive.

When the student leaders are elected in the college and university elections, they take their commands from their political bigwigs. Boys and girls, who are not adept at getting a decent job, are made Vice President, President and Secretary of a student union. They do not know what they are saying to the students as their words are the cooked up words of the politician who guides them. Their actions are controlled by the instructions from the offices of the major political parties.

Political events in the educational institutions lead to violence, destruction and colossal wastage of money. It is an irony that a student, who goes to his college by bus, is able to arrange enough of donations through his efforts for posters, loudspeakers, campaigns and other promotional gimmicks. Further, the leader of the students always have one difference or another.

The lost party always tends to resort to leg- pulling and violence. Elections bring outsiders especially criminals, hooligans and opportunists—on the centre stages of educational temples. The incidents of beating of candidates, murders, destruction of buses and private property and kidnapping of rival candidates are quite common.

Academic sessions are not held regularly. Even if the classes are held, the powerful student leaders force the students to close the college or the university for the sake of their petty demands ego. Those students who are interested in studies, suffer the most. They are not interested in political affiliations but are forced to vote and support a particular set of candidates. The academic and sports performances are also adversely affected.

The solution should be provided by the State in the form of legislation. Active politics is not bad for the College-going students but it should only assume dangerous proportions. Only those students, who are interested in taking up politics as career, should participate in political activities. The rest must avoid politics. Adoption of violence, money power, threats (physical and mental) and external political influences must be banned. Then only, the campus life would be more productive for the students.

The political parties must refrain from interfering in the educational institutes. Adequate legislations must be passed for separating politics from educational institutions. If a political party interferes in the affairs of the educational institutes, it should be banned. Students should join political mainstream of the country only after their educational stints in the colleges and universities are over.

Only serious students should take up political science as a subject. It has been observed that political science is studied by the students of arts for pursuing their graduation or post graduation courses in the arts stream. However, all these students end up with jobs of clerks and peons and political affiliations are cut off in the interest of the survival. Then, why study political science if it is not going to develop the students as political trendsetters of the future?

Political affiliations are always welcome. But this should happen only after the minds of the youth have become mature. The young minds must be able to think about their survival and later, about the political streams, which they are about to join. The final touches to this training should be given when the student joins a political party and has been able to achieve some landmarks during his academic life.

It must be noted that the psyche described earlier is not prevalent in all the strata of students (which includes the students of politics as well). Most the students are interested in joining the educational institutions, learn some useful skills, pass out after enjoying the college or university days and finally, settle down in a job or a business. Politics never fascinates Indian students and many surveys have proved this fact. So, there is no need for linking politics with educational institutes. This would help the State maintain healthy environment in the educational campuses.

We must conclude that politics and students must be separated in the interest of healthy political growth of the nation. The students of today are the torch bearers of the national progress in all spheres. Their tender minds must be trained carefully so that they are able to assimilate the political ideologies in the right perspective. Further, they must remain responsible to their parents and families during their educational stints and much more committed when they join active politics after completion of their education.

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Corporate Survival… How to manage yourself in the political playing field!

In my first … job, I had high … that … … on a solid work ethic and quality … I wanted to aim for thetop and make it happen. … my ideas of cor

In my first corporate job,Corporate Survival… How to manage yourself in the political playing field! Articles I had high expectations that promotions were
based on a solid work ethic and quality production. I wanted to aim for the
top and make it happen. Unfortunately, my ideas of corporate environment
were inaccurate. As a grunt, an engineer, and a manager, the games, turf
wars, and political thrashings taught me numerous incredible lessons. In
the end, I made it to where I wanted to be, but not without bruises,
scrapes, and experience.

Now, people come to me with problems that they have within their companies
or on their job. They want to learn how they can overcome a situation or
better adapt to make it within their companies. For instance, one employee
lost out on a promotion because the person in charge favored another person.
In such situations, you have to look at both sides. Of course, the scorned
employee was upset as his credentials exceeded the promoted employee’s.
But, when we examined the other side of the coin, one of the prominent
actions performed by the promoted employee was that he publicly supported
the boss. If you remove emotion from the situation, and apply some
“poli-think,” it made sense, according to the manager’s needs.

You can either fight it, or you can learn how to make it work for you. I’m
not condoning politics nor am I saying that you should use political tactics
in your everyday life, as this is not only exhausting, but it also takes
away from your work and personal time. But, if you can understand your
corporate culture and its politics, you can better learn how to handle the
situations that are placed before you instead of becoming stressed or

— The Corporate Culture —

When you enter Corporate America, you have two choices: dig in, go with the
punches, and make it into the inner circle, or you can hang back and just do
your job. Both postures are very necessary elements of corporate life and
both are just as difficult. It all depends on what you want out of your

* The Corporate Being

A Corporation is a living, breathing, and growing entity. It changes on an
irregular basis, adapts to its environment, and sometimes performs acts that
seem almost ludicrous. In this way, a corporation is very much like a human

You, as a part of this being, must learn how it grows and changes. Most of
the time, this information is not evident. However, part of the task of
becoming a viable asset to this being is to look beyond the surface and find
out where things are going. In this way, you can position yourself to be a
positive part of the growth and change.

Many of the political situations that occur within a corporation are a
result of this growth and change. These changes cause incredible stress for
some individuals; however, the stress can be overcome by not fighting the
politics and learning the culture of the organization. You will learn that
many of these situations have valid political reasons for why they occur.

Learning the corporate culture is an important step in managing the stresses
associated with any job. Take some time to observe the culture at your
office. This will not only give you an idea as to how to handle yourself,
but it will also help you learn how to handle others.

* Culture Shock

A corporate culture is a set of behaviors and rules that people use to
manage their interactions. These include formal company policies and
informal rules that you learn through experience. Many times, management
will not tell you the informal rules of the office, but they will use your
ability to adapt and learn as a sign of how well you handle yourself.
Additionally, behaving in an inappropriate manner for the culture could risk
your being labeled as uncooperative by your coworkers.

In any situation, you should analyze the culture, and, if necessary, change
your habits accordingly to minimize stress. To evaluate your corporate
culture, you should consider various important aspects of the environment.
For instance, communication style, teamwork, chain of command, appearance,
management roles, interoffice friendships, politics, individual attitudes,
and general workspace environment are important elements to pay attention to
so that you can better acclimate to the environment.

After you’ve learned the culture of your workplace, you should see how it
matches your personal style and expectations. To help prevent workplace
stress, it’s likely that you’ll have to adjust some of your own habits. Of
course, you should not stifle your originality or become an
indistinguishable android. With an understanding of your workplace culture,
you can make informed choices about your behavior and work habits, and
prevent stressful situations and conflicts.

— Corporate Games —

Before you can understand corporate games in the workplace, you must
understand one, core definition of the games: a corporate game is an
illegitimate means of getting things done. It is a way that people twist
and turn situations to reach a specific goal. However, those people that
don’t play, risk their careers.

Improperly managing power and politics can make or break your career, cause
many sleepless nights, and often has very little to do with your actual job
duties. Many people who fail in their jobs do so because of political
problems, not skill deficiencies. Many intelligent and capable people
aren’t as successful as they might be because they haven’t learned to cope
with office politics. Understanding why you might be having difficulty at
work involves understanding the basic elements of office politics and why it

* Politics

Politics and political maneuvering is the interpersonal conflicts and power
plays that exist in most organizations. Among the specific actions commonly
associated with office politics are intimidation, indirect communications,
covert tactics for advancement, manipulation for control, indirectly telling
the truth, hiding vulnerability issues, and playing for favors.

Some companies are better than others in the amount of political activity
required to do a job. In some companies, playing corporate politics is the
only job you have the time to develop. In others, it is only slightly
important. Politics is part of the corporate culture of every organization
and it’s important to understand how it plays into your organization.

* Why does it exist?

Politics came about as a way of handling intense competition. Generally,
business itself is a competitive game ranging from simple tests of skill to
full-blown battles. The game is driven by survival conditions induced by an
expanding world market in which companies must continue to change and grow.
There’s a constant challenge to overwhelm the opposition, reduce costs, and
acquire additional resources. All of these attributes trickle down through
the ranks to cause individual battles for promotions, rewards, and
recognition at all costs.

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