Politics Part Two
post # 292 — January 25, 2007 — a Careers post
Yesterdayâ€™s blogpost was about the politics one encounters as a consultant or internal advisor.
However, the truth may be that you can never get away from office politics, no matter where you work.
There are many people who tell you that you need to be careful what you say, who you say it to, and how your message might be perceived (or misperceived).
The advice they would give is to act on a first presumption of suspicion or distrust — that itâ€™s the only realistic way to behave. Unless you’ve built a strong, trustworthy relationship with a person, you should assume (they say) that whatever you say will be rebroadcast (and potentially misbroadcast) to a wide variety of people.
Naturally, this would also mean that you should be very careful with emails and voice mails â€” you never know who some people will forward your message to, or blind copy.
They would advise you to â€œstrategizeâ€ what you say at meetings and when.
How do you out there feel about this? Iâ€™m torn. On the one hand, I think it terrible to be this paranoid.
I also believe that starting with a lack of trust is likely to breed mistrust. Playing office politics may only serve to worsen office politics. And if youâ€™re not very skilled at it, it might be a disaster to try.
On the other hand, CAN you be a non-participant? Iâ€™d readily confess that some of my worst career events came from not being very attuned to (or skilled) at office politics. (I wish I picked up on unsaid things faster!)
Tell me, please, is it it really this bad out there? Is office politics a key part of everyoneâ€™s life (not just the advisorâ€™s)? If so, where do you go to get better at it? Is there a reading list?