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How effectively do you feel you navigate office politics?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How effectively do you feel you navigate office politics?

  • Extremely. I’m a master at navigating office political intrigue: 7%
  • Very. I navigate politics pretty well most of the time: 37%
  • Somewhat. I sometimes miss important political issues: 33%
  • Not very. I’m not very savvy at navigating political challenges: 16%
  • Not at all. I’m at a total loss for how to navigate office politics: 7%

Politics are a big challenge. While a large portion (44%) of you feel relatively politically savvy at work, an even larger portion struggle to navigate the daily challenges and intrigue of the modern office. I’d submit that you have two choices — join into the political fray and approach it like you’re working at the Capitol or in a TV drama. This approach will tune you in to more of the political landscape and help you navigate those waters. The downside is it will consume a lot of your time and energy that could be spent on more productive pursuits — not to mention being extremely stressful. The other option is to rise above the political fray. When people try to suck you in, let them know you’re too busy working on meaningful efforts to invest time in the drama. While this approach creates political risk for you, it generates more value for the organization and keeps you out of energy-draining daily dramatic situations.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”