How do you get better at office politics ?

Lyft TEHm35
Mar 22 195 Comments

I am as naieve as you can get. I take people at their word and assume everyone has the best intentions and try to do what’s best for the company . However a coworker recently filled me in on the jockeying that’s going on and how I am being used as a sort of pawn to my detriment. How do I get better at this ?

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TOP 195 Comments
  • T-Mobile just add
    Don't get into it. The guy telling you could be the one detrimental. Usually the ones who say they're telling you as a "friend" are the most dangerous ones. Have a job ready when you feel the water is coming up. You'll learn with time through observation on what's going on.
    Mar 22 6
    • Facebook mnbvcxza
      U r both right. Let people explain their takes, have backup plans. It is good to understand why things happen.
      Mar 23
    • American Express / Eng wuali
      Observe, don't participate. Avoid teams that invest heavily in politicking. Avoid teams that are getting used to their detriment.
      Mar 23
    • Facebook mnbvcxza
      Pay attention ot what gets pickup: what tech, what people, what kind of features, products, etc.
      Mar 23
    • Salesforce Gjdh76c
      Not participating is the stupidest thing you can do.
      Mar 24
    • Amazon
      seattle'd

      Amazon

      PRE
      Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Apple
      seattle'dmore
      True.
      Apr 27
  • F5 Networks RRA
    LeetPol.
    Mar 22 7
    • Accenture / Data Gachon
      Funniest shit on this thread. Lmao
      Mar 23
    • Facebook maryjblind
      and chill
      Mar 23
    • Rakuten Mo087xy
      I would use that
      Mar 23
    • Apple / HR SnVL04
      I need that so bad
      Mar 24
    • New / Eng DeezNuts69
      Someone buy this domain and make it happen!
      Mar 28
  • Edibles
    Mar 22 6
    • Groupon MNri40
      This answer is so underrated. Edibles are the best way to contact people and improve connections
      Mar 23
    • Nvidia
      420_Blaze

      Nvidia

      BIO
      BlazeMaster 10K
      420_Blazemore
      Way ahead of you there...
      Mar 23
    • Adobe
      fros

      Adobe

      PRE
      Intuit, Autodesk
      BIO
      Keep a left Sucker
      frosmore
      Edibles? Like bring people cookies/donuts??
      Mar 23
    • American Express / Eng wuali
      Usually cookies, brownies and gummies. Donuts aren't that popular, but don't let that hold you back.
      Mar 23
    • Twitch RbOv54
      Edibles are too intense for me :(

      I like mdma instead
      Mar 23
  • I'm far from an expert on this but here's my take. Treat everyone with respect at a minimum and aim for friendship -it's really a win win exchange if you can trust your coworkers and vice versa. If they choose not to reciprocate, they'll eventually dig themselves a hole.

    Beyond that I think you have to learn how to convince people to help you when you need it. This can be things like helping them proactively so they reciprocate, or doing as much as you can yourself and showing you made an honest effort but need help with xyz, convincing them of the need, or sometimes roping in the right people.

    Finally, regarding you mentioning you're being used as a pawn- assess the situation. If you mean you're stuck with a lot of menial tasks, discuss with your manager. If you're willing to take on tasks that other people don't want to do but with support from leadership, that's actually a good thing for your career (at least at lower levels). If they're claiming credit for your efforts and are higher ranked, sometimes they will help you out in the future. If you're stuck with things that are menial and unimportant, that's when I would say you need to actually stand up for yourself.

    Honestly I think when people refer to politics it's really quite synonymous with career growth and not this complicated social dance. It really comes down to can you pick up skills to be effective in a bureaucratic environment? Aka can you do your job effectively?
    Mar 22 2
    • EY VsEb53
      Thank you!
      Mar 22
    • Booking.com B.lah
      aka read "7 habits of highly effective people". It's such a cliche book, but it doesn't hurt to give it a read. If you do, don't skip the forewords and overviews.
      Mar 24
  • Amazon motard
    Suck up to the stakeholders who control your destiny and befriend (especially outside the workplace) the high performers in your organization.

    In my experience, office politics are more about being perceived as a high performer by those above you than anything else.
    Mar 23 5
    • Indeed gc_+
      This
      Mar 23
    • Yup
      Mar 23
    • Cisco SLmG30
      I mean, maybe if you don't have any integrity. If you have to "suck up" to someone in order for it to advance your career, they are probably a fairly ineffective leader. They make decisions based on how well individuals make them look vs. how to deliver the best business results for the company. This perpetuates and incentivizes the toxic culture of people ONLY being in it for themselves when it's well documented that you need teamwork to build great things. My career has probably moved slower because I refuse to do this, but my integrity is important to me.
      Mar 24
    • Amazon motard
      @SLmG30 I disagree that sucking up necessarily has anything to do with a lack of integrity. Asking for more responsibility, if there are additional tasks you can help with, suggesting organizational or process improvements, etc can all be "sucking up" but are in no way bad things.
      Mar 24
    • Cisco SLmG30
      I have a fairly narrow definition of sucking up. Agreeing with everything your manager says, kissing ass, unnecessary flattery, and other such bullshit. I also put CONSISTENTLY working extra hours. Obviously everyone needs to put in a late night or two, but if you're doing it more than twice a week, you're probably contributing to a problem.
      Mar 24
  • Salesforce Sadforce
    Is it jockeying for projects, titles, adoption, getting you to do all work without any of the credit? You might want to explain what people are striving for, then others can tell you what to do.

    Very generally speaking, at the end of the day honesty wins all wars. My biggest advice is to document who is doing what and when, then when someone gives you trouble, you show them facts. I always get people off my back by saying stuff like, as a shareholder, xyz is detrimental, spend your time doing abc instead.
    Mar 22 1
    • JCPenney Pano
      Exposing facts by a naive player is usually a sure fire way towards getting destroyed.

      Facts are only leverage in end game moves.

      So, sure document things, but present facts as your recollection, not dedicated evidence.
      Mar 23
  • Gigamon / Eng
    chitchor

    Gigamon Eng

    BIO
    what's th is
    chitchormore
    Dont do it. Lets make world better place one person at a time. Incompetent people do politics.
    Mar 22 1
    • Amazon toreador
      You might be on your high horse for a short amount of time, but you’ll get to be on a fucking high horse!
      Mar 23
  • Amazon Ocmecmk
    What do you want your life to amount to in the end ?

    If u become good at scheming and manipulating, you will be given more of it. Do you really want it?

    I recently tried my hand at it; became decent and was given more of it ... eventually I said I am not interested in this.

    Also, people are usually smart to smell this a mile away ... nothing worthwhile or innovative ever got done this way ... only encourages more mediocrity.

    My advice is ... learn to detect it, protect yourself, deflect it but don’t get into the mid ... life is too short

    Luckily we are in an industry with good salaries and enough startups that you can keep moving around ...
    Mar 23 2
  • Tesla Hdhaga
    Fuck politics, practice humility and authenticity instead and you will always come out ontop. Maybe not in the classical sense, however you will have peace of mind.
    Mar 23 4
    • Amazon fhjhcddsfg
      Fred Kofman's conflict management advice is great for this
      Mar 23
    • Tumblr Olajuwo
      Imo that’s still politics. Knowing when and how much to be authentic and to what extent. Reading peoples expressions and knowing when to say the right thing. Blunt honesty all the time will not get you very far.
      Mar 23
    • Amazon fhjhcddsfg
      Fred Kofman makes it clear, authenticity != ignoring what the other person wants/believes. You can be authentic and still have a productive, respectful conversation
      Mar 23
    • Tesla Hdhaga
      @olajuwo, that’s where humility comes in. The ability to let go of your egos needs in spite of its fears and desires, to keep the peace. Can be very powerful.
      Mar 23
  • Amazon BillyNow
    Walk in and neck shiv the biggest asshole
    Mar 23 4
    • Google / Sales ilhw80
      A common strategy at Amazon. ☝️
      Mar 23
    • Google hatsud00
      🥖🥖🥖🤪
      Mar 23
    • Teradata gateway
      I heard you get backstabbed at Amazon
      Mar 23
    • Amazon Hgtvc
      Correct, gateway.
      Mar 24
  • Microsoft LijjatPapa
    Speak less and listen more.
    Mar 23 6
    • Microsoft i love 🥞
      Isn't that; talk less, smile more.
      Mar 23
    • Groupon MNri40
      Hardcore Hamilton fan spotted
      Mar 24
    • Intuit tgfi
      I was thinking Lewis Hamilton but then he’d never say that before realizing it’s the Broadway play
      Mar 24
    • Groupon MNri40
      Mediocre Hamilton fan spotted
      Mar 24
    • Intuit tgfi
      Nah I hate all plays.
      Mar 24
  • Samsung beyonds
    Why the heck people want to "get better at office politics ". Life is short to deal with this bullshit. Just get out of that place.
    Mar 23 1
    • Amazon toreador
      Some of us just can’t “get out of that place”. You should know more about it, Samsung.
      Mar 23
  • Uber domin8
    It's about understanding people's motivations and perceptions. You will not be able to get it until you worked in the organization for some time and went to many meetings. It almost never what it seems.

    I remember working on one project in one of my previous jobs. Fixing some very complex scalability problems. This project was mission critical and was massive pain for everyone for years. I brought new ideas and fixed some serious bottlenecks. Everyone told me that I'm doing God's work and it will be awesome when it will be fixed. Management told me that they are ready to remove any roadblocks.
    You would think that launching it would be easy.

    WRONG. I magically started getting all kinds of technical problems. Basic infrastructure started magically failing and people in charge of it were no where to be found. People, who promised me help with the integration somehow forgot all about it and got extremely "busy".

    Morons built their career around managing this broken mess. I was sabotaged by the same people, who offered me help and support.
    Mar 23 3
    • People pretended to care but in the end they didn’t. Such is life. No one sabotaged you. You fell for your own trap.
      Mar 23
    • Facebook Kid pulls
      But he was doing gods work
      Mar 24
    • Uber domin8
      @eh, sure... You were there and you know better... I wonder what trap is my own trap? Relying on people doing their jobs?
      Mar 24
  • Amazon toreador
    Do not strike before you are really sure the blow will crush your enemies’ worthless spines.
    Mar 23 2
  • Sirius XM PaHwlm56
    You could just go full Milton on them.
    Mar 22 1
    • Nvidia
      420_Blaze

      Nvidia

      BIO
      BlazeMaster 10K
      420_Blazemore
      That's a bold strategy... Promote this man!
      Mar 23
  • Instacart A)
    People side with people they enjoy working with. Be someone people enjoy working with.
    Mar 23 0
  • Tesla ulcd72
    Put your head down and work.
    Mar 23 4
    • New / R&D
      teramitr

      New R&D

      PRE
      Informatica
      teramitrmore
      No, that's a terrible advice.
      Mar 23
    • Facebook mnbvcxza
      And ears out
      Mar 24
    • Facebook mnbvcxza
      Eyes open
      Mar 24
    • Amazon motard
      This is terrible advice. It's how I was raised by my old school parents, but is the number one reason I was taken for granted in my early career.
      Mar 24
    • Facebook Kid pulls
      Man i listener to the audiobook. What a waste of time.
      Mar 24
    • Cornerstone / Eng GtOE41
      Ah I was actually about to read.... why didn’t you like it?
      Mar 24
    • IBM Z4896
      He probably doesn’t need it, it isn’t a waste of time.
      Mar 24
  • Microsoft / Product BlueSmith
    Join MSFT
    Mar 22 3
    • Google / Eng catburglar
      You'll become a corporate warrior.
      Mar 23
    • Microsoft / Design 206wrkr
      True, Microsoft isn’t even about the work, few contribute that, but they do politic a good, ie annoying, game.
      Mar 24
    • Microsoft tiddlewjnn
      We thrive on politics. It’s absolutely disgusting how much you have to manipulate to get anything done here.
      Mar 24
  • Microsoft tuip33
    If your manager does not have your back, you need to change. Otherwise, be nice to people, help them out, and make sure you get your stuff done. Aim to exceed expectations, and you will be recognized.
    However, this all depends on your manager not being a credit hog or an ahole.
    Mar 23 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      yQoH82

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      IBM
      yQoH82more
      Or manager doesn't take action to avoid the conflict. He assumes things will become better in future and ignores.
      Mar 23
    • Homeaway ppMg64
      Because not all wars are winnable. Sometimes not taking action is the best course of action.

      I call it strategic retreat. Why fight when all you have on your side is a point-of-view. Usually if things calm down on their own, no ones feelings get hurt and it’s business as usual. If the other person truly decides to escalate, it’s then you fight. Cause then it’s a fight for survival. If you are seen as someone who can be easily rolled over, people will walk all over you.

      You may get some negative feedback during reviews, and that’s why it’s important that your manager provides air cover. In the end, s/he needs to defend you during perf review. Most managers have the discretion to omit or disregard a feedback. But they can’t do that if it’s consistently negative. That’s the reason you need to pick and choose battles. Fight the ones that are truly important and let the other guy/gal win the ones where only your pride is hurt and not much else
      Mar 24
    • Amazon / Eng
      yQoH82

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      IBM
      yQoH82more
      Like the way you think.
      Mar 24