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How to Survive Office Politics by Identifying Key Players

Part of the Thriving in the Workplace All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

To survive office politics, know who the key players are. After all, office politics is about the relationships and dynamics among your colleagues. At its best, those relationships allow you to get tasks done, to be informed about the latest goings-on in the business, and to form a personal network of supportive business associates. At its worst, office politics degenerates into a competition, where employees try to increase their personal power at the expense of others.

Look for factors that indicate importance

Key players are those politically astute individuals who make things happen in an organization. The following questions can help you identify the key players in your organization:

  • Which employees are sought out for advice in your organization?

  • Which employees are considered by others to be indispensable?

  • Whose offices are close to top management's and whose are miles away?

  • Who eats lunch with the upper management team?

Rethink your company's organization chart

Your company's organization chart may be useful for determining who's who in the formal organization, but to understand the political landscape in your workplace you need the real organization chart. Compare these charts: The first is a typical official organization chart. The second shows who really has political power and who doesn't. Remember: Sometimes, influential people don't hold influential positions.

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