Can Politicking Save Your Job?

Last Updated Nov 27, 2008 12:32 PM EST

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One of the unfortunate consequences of economic turmoil is the uncertainty that it creates among management teams. As the pressure builds, strategy plans are torn up and all options are open again in the pursuit of organisational survival.

In these circumstances, it is only to be expected that many individuals will be asking: "What about me?" We have livelihoods to protect, bills to pay and families to feed. It is unreasonable to expect this to be ignored as the economic crisis turns personal.

Apparently, workplace stress is on the rise. Not surprising, as individuals start actively competing against each other.

At some point people will start to move down the Maslow motivational hierarchy. When this happens, people start to look after number one. This position favours the more Machiavellian characters who know what to do, when to do it and who to demolish.

Before you rush out and buy a copy of The Prince -- be assured, you don't need to betray your integrity.

There are ways that you can diagnose the situation and potential outcomes. You can start to figure out other people's agendas and how they could impact on you. You can then apply ethical influencing approaches to improve your position and start to reduce your personal risks.

A lot of time and energy is required to think these things through and then to adapt your style and approach to suit the situation, especially if you're one of those who "doesn't do politics". There are no guarantees, but with careful action you can improve the odds of survival.
To take action

  1. Look around you carefully and see what is really going on.
  2. Consider your organisation and how it is being affected by the economic crisis.
  3. What impact could or is this having on your job?
  4. Who else could be affected?
  5. Think about the evidence of growing opposition to your ideas or work.
  6. What could this imply?
  7. What are your options?
  8. Who could be competing with you and how are they playing it?
  9. Determine an action plan to build greater insight and intelligence.
  10. Consult constructively with friends about what you can do proactively to reduce your risks.
Remember, you're not alone at this time. Look for trusted friends and work with them as you figure out what is happening and what you can do -- they'll thank you for your active approach.

(Photo: JC Rojas, CC2.0)

  • Colin Gautrey

    Colin Gautrey has written several books on politicking at work and is co-author of “21 Dirty Tricks at Work”. He is also co-founder of Politics at Work, www.politicsatwork.com which works with corporates and academia to help individuals learn more about the practical use of power and influence in the workplace.