Winning at the game of workplace politics

1. Map the minefield. Every workplace is strewn with political land mines. A good political map answers three key questions: Who are the other players? What does each one want? Who has clout?

2. Know when to hold and when to fold. The best political players know when to cut their losses. Like poker aces, they don’t bet the farm on a losing hand; they wait for better cards.

3. Embrace friends and befriend enemies. The best political players understand that good ideas rarely win on their merits alone. It takes allies and advocates to do or change anything.

4. Make win-win deals. The best political players focus on solving problems – not blaming, criticizing or attacking people. They focus on interests – not positions. They invent options for mutual gain. They insist on objective criteria to keep the game fair.

Source: Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, Reframing Organizations and Leading with Soul.

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