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How to Get Better at Office Politics

Big offices are like big government: Lots of people, lots of egos, and lots of jockeying for position. It's all a game, and you'd better get good at playing it if you want to advance your career. So says Penelope Trunk, who offers some tough-love advice on mastering office politics, including:

Don't rely on your job competence There is great research to show that people value social skills at work more than they value job skills. Here's a clear example: People would rather work with someone who is likable and incompetent than someone who is competent but a not likable . And when someone is a jerk, people start thinking the person is less competent, whether it's actually true or not.

What does this mean for you? Stop saying that you don't have time for office politics. Because office politics is really about being likable, and the best way to look competent at work is not to do good work as much as to be likable. So let some of the details go, get rid of your perfectionist tendencies, (which will probably eventually make you a depressive anyway) and start wandering around your office getting to know people.

Trunk also recommends being nice, staying true to yourself, and even blaming yourself when things aren't going well. What do you think? Have you mastered the political game in your office? If so, how'd you do it?
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