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Playing office politics is necessary to succeed

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Workforce — tracks feedback from leading managers and HR practitioners. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How much of a role do office politics play in success at your workplace?

  • Somewhat. Being able to play the game helps. — 49%
  • A ton! It’s all about politics. — 42%
  • Not at all. Success is based on merit. — 9%

Raises and promotions are based on merit? Not so fast! Over 9 in 10 people believe that playing office politics gives you at least a bit of an edge at their company. While I still might recommend letting your boss win a hole or two at golf, using office politics as a promotion method is just bad management no matter which way you score it.

Lance Haun is community director for, the main guy over at and a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board.

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