How Well Do You Play Office Politics?

Office Politics: A Rise to the Top

Office Politics: A Rise to the Top (Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos)

According to the new book How to Thrive in a World of Lying, Backstabbing and Dirty Tricks by psychologist Oliver James: “Office politics are an inevitable part of professional life. Everybody engages in office politics, even the lamest person in the office, because they have to; it’s unavoidable that people will find themselves in competition for the best shifts or the most interesting tasks and if you take action to get your way, there’s nothing wrong with that. But what you want to get involved with is healthy office politics with as much humour, deliberation and wisdom as possible.”

“In modern day businesses, assessing merit is much more subjective. How far you rise and how much you are paid may well depend on how much you are liked by your boss, or how well you get on with your clients or colleagues.”

“Astuteness in dealing with people will help you rise through the ranks. Display a quiet competence and you will just be ignored.”

According to James bosses come in three types: cold, ruthless psychopaths; calculating Machiavellis; and vain, puffed-up narcissists. James calls this the Dark Triad, because the lines are blurred. A boss who fits one or other of these stereotypes will share some characteristics of the other two. “The likelihood of your daily working life being troubled by a person who is some mixture of psychopathic, Machiavellian and narcissistic is high. If you do not develop the skills to deal with them, they will eat you for breakfast.”

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