Why Play Company Politics?
I'm an HR Generalist earning $35,000 now. Someday I'd like to be Senior Vice President of HR earning $100,000+, but I don't like to play corporate politics. What should I do?
People who dislike company politics usually don't like back-stabbing, taking credit for others' work, or getting by on personality rather than performance. I agree, that's no way to build a $100,000+ career.
In the best sense, playing politics means developing good "people skills." It means contributing more than expected, being diplomatic, collaborating and co-operating, and conducting a low-key public relations campaign for yourself.
Moving from $35,000 to $100,000+ requires increasingly sophisticated political (people) skills. To move up the ladder, you'll need to:
- Keep your eyes and ears open
- Improve communications with others at all levels
- Listen more
- Resolve interpersonal disputes quickly
- Be willing to admit you're wrong
- Make others--especially your boss-look good
- Take leadership roles both internally and externally
- Be assertive without being abrasive
- Build networks
- Make friends, not enemies, and most of all,
- Put the corporate mission and agenda ahead of your own.
In short, you'll need to be very "people-smart." Playing politics isn't necessarily bad. In fact, it's a key survival skill. Many good corporate politicians are both likeable and effective. That's why they rise to the top. Those who refuse to play politics may accomplish a lot, but they seldom last long or reach the $100,000+ level, because they don't "fit in."