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Political smarts come naturally to some people, while others have to learn the hard way. Here are some strategies you can adopt if you want to demonstrate more political intelligence at work.
1. Partner with your boss.
Unless you have unique and irreplaceable knowledge or skills (or are related to the CEO), your boss has more power than you do. So it’s better to have your boss as a cheerleader than an adversary. Politically savvy people know how to “manage up.” Get to know your boss, volunteer to help with special projects, champion his/her causes in the workplace. The more you assist, the more valuable you become.
2. Be a 360˚ team player.
With a wide network of relationships, you will have more information about what’s going on. And if people are willing to cooperate and collaborate with you, you will produce better results. Politically savvy people develop positive relationships in all directions – with management, peers, and employees.
3. Exercise subtle self-promotion.
No one can appreciate you if they don’t know what you’re doing. But that doesn’t mean you should become an insufferable braggart. Find natural ways to mention achievements and challenges, like sending regular progress reports to your boss or chatting about your projects at lunch. Politically savvy people share information without being obnoxious.
4. Connect with the power people.
The big decisions about your career will be made by other people, so you need to be sure they know who you are. Politically savvy people enjoy talking to folks who have power (which is not the same as sucking up).
5. Commit to the business.
An indifferent, apathetic attitude never impressed anyone. If you want decision-makers to think well of you, you need to be interested in and excited about the business – because you can bet that they are! Be proactive about your job and eventually people will notice. Politically savvy people choose a career that they find interesting and energizing. You can’t fake enthusiasm for long.
Used with permission – Your Office Coach – Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.