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Networking and Politicking

Happy New Year, Street Squad! We hope you had a fantastic holiday and are ready to face this year head-on. Let’s shimmy out of the holiday spirits and prepare to secure that dream job.

Networking and politicking are important aspects of getting a job or securing better placement for those with jobs. Have you ever wondered why your friend, who started working with you at the same time, has been promoted twice, while you are still at the same level? It could be attributed to their networking and politicking skills, rather than just grace, luck, or prayers.

Networking and Politicking are different but interwoven.

Networking can be defined as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. It refers to the process of people interacting with each other, either within their own company or with individuals from other organizations. It is usually done to build relationships and discover potential benefits.

Office politics involves the activities, attitudes, or behaviors used to gain power or advantages within a business. It refers to the use of authority, power, and delegation for personal gain within a workplace’s complex social structure.

Office politicking can’t occur without networking because you need people/allies to gain power or advantage. Being an introvert will no longer be an excuse this year. You have to be friendlier and more open to the “dreaded” human interaction. This is the year for you to break out of your shell and “politick” your way into that well-deserved promotion– hey, it’s not eye service, it’s building strong people skills, and this is Manager level preparation.

It is important to understand the nuanced difference between Office politics and networking. Networking is friendlier and mutually beneficial. Office politics, on the other hand, tend to have a more sinister angle. It involves navigating people’s interests and managing people while stepping on as little toes as possible. The underlying motivation behind politics is the desire to thrive, progress, and achieve personal success, which brings feelings of pride, accomplishment, and pleasure.

There are several tips for navigating office politics.

They Include:

  • Understand the social structure: It is very important to understand the social structure in your organization. There are two major subdivisions of an organization’s social structure: formal structure and informal structure.

The formal Structure refers to the job title or official position of authority, such as CEO, director, or supervisor. The informal structure refers to the subtle yet significant power dynamics that exist among employees.

Mastering office politics is essential for your success, and it all starts with having a deep understanding of the nuances between the two subdivisions within the office social structure. Don’t let the politics get the best of you – take the time to learn and navigate the landscape with confidence.

  • Networking: You need friends and allies to scale the corporate ladder. You need to build a strong and reliable social network among your colleagues. Sometimes, getting an advantage or a life-changing opportunity is as simple as having the right friends. However, note that the friendship has to be mutually beneficial. As the Nigerian common saying goes, “Scratch my back make I scratch your own”.
  • Professionalism: Navigating office politics is not an excuse to slack at work. Professionalism involves being reliable, setting high standards, and showing that you care about every aspect of your job. It’s about being industrious and organized and holding yourself accountable for your thoughts, words, and actions.

Don’t go chasing politics and forget the major reason you were hired. Making Friends should also stay within the professional scope. There is a fine line between being friendly and being creepy. Remember that there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics.

  • Develop Your Social Skills: Dear Introvert, this is where it gets scary. You need to develop skills that would project you as an emotionally intelligent and intellectually balanced person. These skills include effective communication, teamwork, empathy, active listening, conflict resolution, etc. You can develop these skills by setting goals for yourself (e.g. I’ll speak to three people today about non-work related matters), encouraging others to talk about themselves, giving compliments freely, paying attention to body language, reading books about social skills, etc.
  • Maintain A Positive Outlook: Nobody likes a wet blanket. Stop going around the office nagging and complaining. Be kind and manage your emotions well.

It is important to know that there is bad office politics and there is good/harmless office politics. It is advisable that one steers off the former. Nothing good ever comes out of bad office politics. Bad office politics in the Nigerian context goes as far as dark magic. Stay Safe out there!

Best of Luck!

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