This Piece was posted by Sable Badaki; a Global Strategic HR Consultant, Facilitator and Speaker......................
We hear the term “ office politics” and images begin to flood our minds of bickering, backstabbing, and mean co-workers. Is that office politics or is just bickering, backstabbing, and mean co- workers?
Office politics exist in the workplace. Your ability to navigate through the political environment is a skill. Contrary to popular belief, it is not for the evils ones but for the career focused ones. Check your organization’s competency directory, there it is “political savvy”
Understands and utilizes the dynamics of power, organization, and decision making to achieve objectives. Understands the key stakeholders and the people who influence them. Understands the process on how decisions are made. Leverages internal and external networks to achieve results.
Disengaging from office politics does not guarantee a progressive career, more than likely you will lose by not participating. Be political but be savvy. Gain the skills you need to become political savvy:
  1. Understanding and utilizing the dynamics of power, organization and decision making to achieve objective. Scan the office environment to learn the key opportunities and /or challenges to your agenda/idea. Learn how to promote your idea to the right power players in the informal and formal networks. Discuss with them the projects you are working on and your achievements. These discussions can be informal during lunch or coffee meetings or formal through weekly progress reports. Letting others know of your success establishes credibility for your work, which you will need when promoting your agenda. 
  2. Understands the process on how decisions are made. Having strategic relationships with the power players allows you to be involved in the decision-making process. Be involved in the meetings, before the meeting. This is where decisions are made and directions are changed. Align yourself with the influencers; they may not have a title or a corner office. However, they are invited to the informal meetings (lunch, coffee, or after work functions), where agendas are sanctioned or killed.
  3. Leverage your internal and external networks. Agendas do not succeed in a silo. It requires partnerships across the organization and sometimes, support from professional or governing bodies outside the organization. Building these relationships is key to getting results. It also helps you from being blindsided, when the organization has had an unspoken priority shift. Informal networks are the first to know. Being linked to these groups, you will not be left in the dark. Working on projects, task forces or assignments that are no longer on the organization’s radar.
Be political. Just know what party to join, where and how to campaign your career