The Best Way to Play Office Politics

January 13, 2011

Be my friend

Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of things that seem to tread the border between wisdom and plain common sense.

I enjoyed listening to this interview at HBR (while on my way to work, appropriately) with the authors of Being the Boss, which discusses the reality of all organisations being “inherently political entities” and how best to deal with this.

It contains the following nuggets about workplace politics which struck a chord with me:

Who you know determines what you get to do, and what you get to do determines what you know.

You can’t only form relationships with people you like. You don’t have the liberty to make that distinction.

Also, to paraphrase Linda Hill on the perils of forming adult working relationships:

When we were five years old we might approach other children directly and ask them “Will you be my friend?”. That doesn’t work so well in the office.

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