21 Ways Of Managing Workplace Politics


Many people in corporate America have a hard time managing workplace politics. Challenges that people have begin with knowing the corporate culture. I’ve been in corporate America for the past 10 years and have learned valuable lessons throughout my career. Being a woman in business and striving for success was even more reason to be savvy in managing workplace politics and knowing the culture of the company I worked for.

You may be asking, what is corporate culture? Well, essentially it’s your companies’ personality. Corporate culture includes:

  1. Who the company is
  2. What the company stands for
  3. How things are done in your company

It is this culture that tells you what the company believes in, strives for, and actually practices. Some of you might hate the company you work for, or you are unclear of the companies’ culture. As a result, you are not able to manage workplace politics. The following list of strategies for managing workplace politics may be useful to those that are new to the company or profession.

Strategies For Managing Workplace Culture

  1. Know the company culture
  2. Identify the people with power
  3. Be a straight shooter
  4. Be visible
  5. Learn to say yes
  6. Be responsible
  7. Don’t be a complainer
  8. Show humility, but don’t be a doormat
  9. Listen more than you speak
  10. Treat everyone with consideration and respect
  11. Give credit where credit is due
  12. Develop an internal network
  13. If you want to promote an idea, involve others
  14. Be indispensable to the company
  15. Offer your help and resources to co-workers before you ask for something in return
  16. Listen to the grape vine
  17. Don’t be afraid to admit you are not perfect
  18. Learn to use the system in your favor
  19. Avoid loud confrontations
  20. Handle criticism constructively
  21. Learn restraint

Although this list is not exhaustive, it is many of the things that I picked up along the way. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of familiarizing yourself with these 21 strategies as they can be the difference between your success and your doom.

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15 thoughts on “21 Ways Of Managing Workplace Politics

  1. Very well written. I especially agree with #’s 13 & 15. Getting others on board really helps and if you’ve been helpful to them in the past they’re more likely to willingly return that favor.
    I’ve also found that if I insert a compliment (like on past performance or “I know you’re the most qualified here on this topic XYZ, so I was hoping to get your…”) before the request it really greases the track. Just don’t get too much of the brown stuff on your nose when you try it!

  2. haha. I knew this post was gonna show up one of these days. Its surprising how much workplace politics one is exposed to at work everyday. Knowingly or unknowingly. Very well written Jane.

  3. #14 is key…be indespensible to the company. If you’re just another guy they can get rid of you anytime. Be creative. Creativity is hard to replace.

  4. Great list Jane. A few more came to mind while I was reading. In a former life I was the marketing director for a company called Mountain Challenge. We dealt a ton with corporate culture and conflict resolution.
    22. Learn to say “no”
    23. Don’t patronize your coworkers, especially your subordinates
    24. Don’t be a cynic
    25. Be your company’s biggest fan
    As always, keep up the good work!

    1. Conflict resolution is always fun. It’s usually “he said/she said”.
      I like to sit both people down in front of me and get their stories when they’re both there. That’s when you get the real story and you can come to a positive resolution.

  5. One thing I’ve always noticed is that every office has a piniata. And everyone beats the hell out of that piniata.
    The funny thing is, it’s human nature. If the person who’s the piniata leaves, someone else becomes the piniata eventually.

  6. I dont think this post is really about politics as much as organisational culture and work ethics.
    ‘Politics’ often have less to do with organisational culture and more to do with personal positioning, which in itself creates conflict with the culture.
    ‘Personal Politics’ are often detrimental to organisational culture, and lead to inefficiencies caused by sub optimisation as departmental managers compete with each other.
    The less ‘politics’ are tolerated in an organisation the better. The most successful organisations I have worked for (you would know them) were far less prone to political behaviour and were consequently benefited from higher levels of sustainability.

  7. I kind of agree with Jez, but at the same time, I think the author’s tips will help employees avoid the pitfalls of office politics. I use many of these strategies not just because they work in the workplace, but many of them work in life.

  8. These are general but good advice. I have used a lot of these – kind of common sense. If you fine that you need more detailed information, check out this book, Working with You Is Killing Me by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster. I found it to be helpful; I hope you do as well.

  9. I tell you what. If my company didn’t have an outstanding culture…although it’s a great company (that’s true, not lip service) I wouldn’t work there.

  10. I guess sometimes it is just plain hard, as there are people who refuse to listen or be more open in how they look at people. Usually, it is hard not to take sides as well, as one would want a groups of friends or people that he/ she can trust.

  11. Another great way is to promote the success of the others. If someone has done something that helped you send out an email to group or at least to co-workers manager and point it out.
    You will make the other person look good and you will benefit from future willingness to help you.

  12. I am reminded of a plaque one of my past bosses used to have on his desk:
    Teamwork – When everybody does it my way.

  13. going back to work in a office. office politics!! it is horrible! all i saw the first few weeks is nobody is eating lunch in the cafeteria only at their desks fast, fast like five miniutes. i was told it was a forty hour week instead the my colleages told me that they know what time they come in to work, but do not know when they go home. what is this, the end od the world!! and this is already the third place i try!!

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