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How Women Can Succeed at Office Politics


This year at Connect, we'll be able to go sessions at the Kenexa World Conference sessions; they'll be assembled together to form the Smarter Workforce workstream. I was curious about Kenexa and what it has to offer when I came across this article: How Women Can Succeed at Office Politics; it echoes a lot of what I learned at the Nerd Girls sessions at Lotusphere/Connect in years past, and I thought I'd pass it along. It's a quick read but has some great advice.

Written by Ines Wichert, Ph.D., Senior Psychologist at Kenexa, it talks about how office politics, while often perceived as self-promotional and to the detriment of others' goals, are also seen as a valid way to quickly move up the corporate ladder.  Women can often be turned off by the perceived pejorative nature of office politics, and Dr. Wichert offers the following advice for success:

  • Change the terminology. "Phrases such as 'sharing success' and 'building effective relationships' can convey a different impression, but retain the same end result."
  • Work on your political moves. "When women are shown that a behavior [such as negotiation] is acceptable and important, and once they have learned how to master it, they tend to adopt the behavior much more readily." And, in turn, they're better at it.
  • Focus on success. "It's not about bragging. It's about helping your very busy boss understand what you have delivered."
  • Get a mentor. "The really effective mentors share information about unwritten organization rules and provide access to powerful networks."
  • Build your network. "Find ways of building one-to-one relationships with people who are important to your career and keep them up-to-date on your progress."

I'm interested to know what political moves you (male or female) have found successful in the office. What advice do you have for someone out there (male or female) battling to get noticed at work?

You can read the full article here or download the file and read it on your own time.

P.S. If you liked that article, Ines Wichert also wrote Enabling Women's Career Progression. It's a report based on interviews about work barriers with 2,500 men and women from 5 different countries.


Oct 28, 2013
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