The Six Rules of Office Politics

An adversarial relationship with a skilled office politician destroys opportunities. It could end your career. You despise their shenanigans, but unless you have authority to deal with them, learn to get along.

Office politics


Office politics exists wherever people work together.

When interactions run smoothly, it’s like water to fish.


Get your head out of the clouds. Not everyone thinks office politics is ugly. Like most things, there’s a good side to this dark issue.

Rule #1:

Connect with people you don’t like, especially if they have power and authority. Treat them with respect and kindness. The alternative is beneath you. If extending kindness to people you don’t like is below you, you have a problem.

Rule #2:

Accept everyone as they are. Acceptance isn’t agreement, approval, or affection. The alternative to accepting people is rejecting them. Rejection creates adversity.

Naiveté suggests you can “fix” manipulators.

But, you can’t “fix” anyone.

Rule #3:

Deliver exceptional results and elevate your social game. Don’t exclusively rely on your work. Keeping your head down and doing your work is naive. Those who skillfully play the social game are more successful than those who don’t. If this rule bugs you, you need it.

Rule #4:

Think of your team. It’s not just you. Your team is at risk when you’re in the cross-hairs of a skilled office politician. Worse yet, they may be pressured to take sides in a fight they didn’t start.

Rule #5:

Engage in ethical office politics with the motivation to help people. You never know when you might be able to help someone you don’t like. Leaders connect before they get things done through people.

Rule #6:

Expect reciprocity. Ask others to contribute to your agenda. The social game isn’t a one-way street.


Work in harmonious relationship or work under authoritarian rule. Business is relationship.


This post comes at office politics from the position of someone who doesn’t have authority to deal with it. I look forward to your take on this challenging issue.

How can leaders play office politics ethically?

How can someone without authority navigate office politics?