A Old Normal
We all have been subject to Office Politics in a way or the other; may be impacted negatively by it or subjected to immense growth from it. All though it has been there for a long now and is something which we can’t get ride off for a long time now. It does make sense to venture smoothly and steadily along with it.
I was recently introduced to Niven Postma, A well established author and a professor. I did read one of her published articles in HBR and was immensely impressed on the thought process and was also inspired by the story shared in the article.
As I explored more on Niven’s article I came across the book titled “If you don’t do politics, politics will do you”; I spent almost a week only on this phrase what it may mean to me and how relevant this phrase is to everyone. As I explored more I came across one more article from Niven, Here is the link:
The Reasons for Office Politics
We all are humans, we want to grow, we want to scale up, we all want higher financial pay, we all want higher designations, we all want better work, we all want better respect… Our wants are always scaling up up and more up. Who doesn’t want right.
My Personal Experiences with Office Politics
I first had an impact because of Office Politics in 2010 where I lost an opportunity to grow to the next level, My Lead influenced me to back out from the opportunity as there was something better coming up for me. I didn’t validate the suggestion and backed out. Later Learnt that he was in favour of another individual.
Second Impact was in 2012, I lost an opportunity because I didn’t vouch myself as a candidate for the next level thinking my work would speak. Learnt that I missed out the opportunity for a less skilled and experienced person just because I didn’t show the interest in the position.
Third Impact was in 2014, I lost an opportunity where I was the Best Fit because again I didn’t vouch as I considered the management will take the wise decision. I was moved to a different team and had to quit due to the psychological stress later learnt that the influence continued to prove that I quit because I wanted Onsite (Who doesn’t, But that wasn’t my intent I was fighting with many other things internally then)
Fourth Impact was in 2021, This was unique as the Management wanted me to step up and lead as soon as I joined without announcing it to the team, This was a very short and had to quit because I didn’t have the power to wield the stick nor was the management interested to make things straight along with other unethical practices. This engagement was a lot disrespectful and I feel its good I did move on. There might have been other views and perspectives and also informations that I am not aware of even now.
Now when I turn back and connect the dots with Niven’s Second Article, I have a different perspective all together.
In all 4 situations above and also at the current aspect, I do see few things inline with the article which made me loose:
- First Hand Information
- Connections and Relationships
- Ability to Influence
- Clear Visibility to the situation
We all are the same individuals especially being born and brought up in India and having an understanding of how things imply to Leaders at the Government and the things we see them doing for the Chair and associating the word politics with it; we tend to have a negative opinion on the word “Politics”.
Same has been with me, all though we explore a set of human chains in growths across companies we see. We tend to consider that they are favours done and what not what is based on the “Deserving” part. While this may be true or not but having the above 4 pointers on your side will make you win for sure. In all the 4 situations and the current one, I see that when you have the first hand information of what’s going to happen puts you in a better place to influence and how do you influence – by having the right connections and relationships and so does the connections and the relationships that gets you the information also the same connections gets influenced by you to make things happen for you.
There is lot more effort to be put in to grow and maintain your connections and relationships at work which would certainly contribute to your growth based on how you use it.
Irrespective of the skills, experiences and the different strong work aspects you bring to the table, you may certainly loose on opportunities if you don’t use your relationships and connections at the right time and in the right way.
Unethical practices are still there and is pretty common in India, however you would certainly know what’s wise in your state or the situation.
Excited to Read the Book from Niven and also its a reminder to set recurring meetings and connect with my folks at work too!
Remember, Healthy Politics is the Key for the Entire Team to Grow and No One’s left behind!