4 Secrets Of Office Politics
Talent, energy, and intelligence are not enough to get ahead in the world. And for all the talk on the virtues of teamwork and cooperation there is little evidence that they work equally in everyone’s favor. When it comes down to it, ambition is the only thing that matters. Only stubborn determination can get you to the top of your profession or organization.
Benjamin Franklin defined politics as the art of the possible. I think the latter incidental to the true nature of politics. Which is ambition—the desire of one individual to be master over others. Deep inside that is what you really want: to be the chief, the boss, the person calling the shots and receiving the money and status that comes with that position.
To get to the top you must navigate your way through the politics of the office. I advise you to begin your journey by disabusing yourself of certain illusions. Ass kissing, for example, is not a form of politicking. People who do that are seen as weak and pathetic by those in power and advance slowly if it all. The ability to see, to understand, and to be guided by the realities of human nature is what will get you the brass ring.
Here are 4 secrets of office politics:
1. You must be ruthless
Not every person among your peers will advance. It is likely that only one of you will break out from the rest and be promoted. It must be you. You spend a great deal of time with the people you work with and so are bound to make friends. However, you must not let that override the demands of your professional ambition. If getting ahead means taking action that casts them in a bad light or undoes them, you must execute without compunction.
But take heed. No one likes an asshole or a rat. You cannot be seen by those above, below, or on the same level as you as a sellout or a snitch.
Let’s say, for example, that one of your friend’s has been promoted to team lead. You know that you could do a better job and that he is not really up to it. In engineering his downfall, you must make it look as though others on the team have come independently to the same conclusion that you have. It would be bad form to say disparaging or unkind things about him. You must instead quietly and subtly arrange things so that each individual makes the same observations to the head boss about your friend’s shortcomings.
2. Excellence is nothing without arrogance
Excellence without arrogance is a fine slogan. But I suspect that even the person who came up with it doesn’t really believe in it. People like to go around saying how much they detest overconfidence and arrogance. This is not the case. The humble, shy, soft-spoken career man rarely advances above the level of useful technocrat. Power is inextricably linked with boldness. How can you expect to exercise it if you are not willing believe that you are indispensable, that the people and the organization need you, that destiny demands that you be in authority? The fact is people are instinctively attracted to egoism and bravado: they want to see what the self-styled hero can do. Never think that your work and abilities will speak for themselves. You must do your utmost to ensure that the people who matter notice them.
3. Sex is a weapon
Good looks matter. If you have them, you should not be afraid to use them. Never mind the old cliché of sex as a weapon: sex is a weapon. Some of the most notable leaders in history have flirted, seduced, and teased their way into positions of power. Sexual charm is as much at the disposal of men as it is for women. If you know you have sex appeal, you should not hesitate to make alliances with your women superiors—especially the older ones—by flirting with them. You may find that a number of your male bosses are likewise susceptible to certain suggestions. You don’t have to follow through with anything; the point is to be desired and thus in a position of power and influence.
4. You are the leader
Lastly, you should act as though you are the leader. If the bosses see that you already possess the capacity and willingness to think independently and come to your own judgments and conclusions, they will accept you as an equal. This can only increase your chances of being promoted sooner rather than later.
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About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.