Playing the Game

black-and-white-city-man-people (1)Do you think you can succeed in a company without office politics? Well, you need to wake up. Office politics is everywhere and how you play the game matters.

We all have been part of mind games and politics in our offices – either at the giving side or the receiving end. It feels like hardworking and straight forward people just stay where they are. And arrogant, wily and manipulative co-workers get ahead in the corporate ladder. I am sure you don’t need me to tell you this, you might have seen multiple instances of this.

But why does this go on in the first place?

Survival. Business is about survival, about beating the competition. Some of it maybe be subtle and unspoken but every single person is fighting for visibility, budgets, resources, responsibility, power, promotions and being a ‘hero’. Not everybody can have all of these – hence the politics.

But does that mean one becomes or tries to be the aggressive person trampling on everybody else to move ahead? Of-course not. I have been in the corporate sector for about 9 years – a short while compared to a lot of you more experienced folks. But I am a millenial. And millenials function differently.

Office politics is not always the bad word today. It is more about scrutinizing relationships at work and learning how to influence others to do the right thing. Here are a few things I have learnt about office politics as a millenial and how you can play the game. And it is important for companies to pay heed because by 2020, millenials will form 40% of the workforce and if companies cannot get millenials to work for them, they will not survive.

  1. Do not be shy or hesitant to tell what is on your mind, even if it is to the CEO: Logical thoughts matter, especially if you think it will help the company. If you disagree and you have a rationale, voice it. A Forbes article says 88% of Millennials prefer to collaborate versus compete with others. There are many people who do not want politics as much as you – so don’t hide behind a veil of lies, one-upmanships and go-arounds, be straight and to the point.
  2. Think about life success: A role or an opportunity might give you a rush and take you a few notches higher in the company but think about whether that will you give you learnings and life success. If you don’t see a long term horizon, then it might not be worth it.
  3. Be entrepreneurial: Many companies have realized that they have to create a start-up culture to attract talent, be part of such companies or such teams. Even if you are put in a team in which you are not interested, act like the owner. Who knows, you might just start enjoying your venture over a period of time. Once you have spent enough time and it still doesn’t seems like it is what you want to do, move on with the experience you have gathered.

Office politics will not disappear but with millenials forming a large part of the workforce, it will definitely transform into something that is more positive. So play the game right and for the right reasons.


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