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How Women Can Succeed at Office Politics

Many women avoid political behavior in the workplace because they see it as manipulative. Dr. Ines Wichert, Kenexa® High Performance Institute, explains how influencing strategies can help you get what you want.

Organizational politics brings with it connotations of intrigue, maneuvering and favoritism. It is rarely associated with positive attributes and it is often avoided by women. Nevertheless, many reluctantly recognize that those who use political behavior in a skilled manner seem to advance faster in organizations—they always seem to be aligned to the right people, have important insider knowledge and are in favor with those in power.

Political behavior has been defined in a number of different ways, but there is general agreement that it is essentially about influencing others in order to obtain valued outcomes such as a promotion or a good relationship with one’s supervisor.

This in itself is probably a fairly acceptable set of behaviors and goals, however, the fact that political behavior is deemed to be employed exclusively for a person’s self-interest, and often at the expense of others’ interests, makes it much less acceptable to many women. When we use words such as self-promotion and ingratiation, women tend to switch off.

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