Is office politics central to a successful career?

Accountemps has published the results of a survey on office politics. It turns out that more than half of Canadians are involved in it in some way, and many think it is essential for getting ahead in their career…
Office politics play an important role in the workplace. At least this is the opinion of 80% of Canadian professionals interviewed by Accountemps in its survey on the subject. 42% also think that participating in office politics is quite essential to career advancement, with 24% even saying that it is absolutely essential.  44% admit to participating occasionally, when issues affect them personally, and 10% consider themselves regular participants, explaining that it is necessary to comply with the rules of the game to get ahead. The remaining 42% of respondents say they do not get involved at all.
Gossip extremely common
The other question raised relates to the type of office politics. Gossip and spreading rumours take the lead, with 50% of the people interviewed believing that these are the most common office politics prevalent at their workplace. Following these are attempts to curry favours from the boss by flattery (23%) and by attributing the work of others to oneself (18%). One small reassuring point is the sabotaging colleagues’ projects only drew 2% of responses.
Accountemps also points out that even for those who want to, it’s not always possible to avoid office politics, and that it’s important to know how to react to situations. The firm identifies six types of participants in these shenanigans and explains how to behave when faced with them.
Who are the office politicians?
First of all is the gossip mill, people who know everything about everyone. It is better not to talk with them about anything at all not related to work. Then there is the merit thief, who tries to appropriate the ideas of others and attribute to themselves the merits of their work. To avoid falling into his traps, employees have to arrange to always discuss their ideas and projects in the presence of several witnesses, preferably members of their team, so that it is well known that they originated them, and superiors must be listening when they are kept up to date on the progress of assignments.
As for the flatterer, he is unlikely to harm anyone – he does not hurt anyone and flatterees are usually quite aware of his shenanigans. The saboteur on the other hand is more dangerous, since he does not hesitate to demean his colleagues and assumes no responsibility for mistakes. Although employees can decide to confront him themselves, they can also report him to their superior, who will have to manage the situation. Then comes the lobbyist, who is more politician than employee! Seeking the support of his colleagues, he will do everything to defend his ideas. An open dialogue is usually enough. Finally, it is important to maintain good relations with the adviser, who is in contact with everyone and therefore has a certain power.
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