You could be the hardest worker and have the most intellect in your selected field, but without strategic politics, you will not achieve your full potential. Politics, a factor that increases as company size increases, are relationship-centric. Remember always hearing "its not what you know, it's who you know," well that isn't completely true. If you are strong in politics, establish relationships amongst a broad network AND are intellectual and skilled in your position, then you will accelerate. Although, "who you know" takes precedent, if you are not a performer, you will not last in a new position.
Now you are wondering "how do I play politics." Politics is strategic and must be learned by experience in a work setting. Terms like "kissing up" or "brown-nosing" to superiors are part of politics, but it is more about displaying your talents to the right people at the right time, while praising their efforts. For those of you who feel they don't need to use this tactic to get ahead, then you are letting others steal the spotlight because the world runs on relationships and managers are looking for candidates that share similar views and work hard for "them".
At work you might notice politics when:
- A co-worker compliments a managers work on a project.
- Your in a meeting and a manager highlights a key point or view and a co-worker talks with the manager afterward, displaying agreement.
- A display of an elevator-pitch to a manager in the hallway