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I have read a few questions here about politics and wanted to ask more about a topic that caught my eye from a conversation.

Is it possible to engage in company politics while being fully honest and never engaging dishonestly/deceptively?

Are there specific examples of clean "political tactics"?

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    CC'ing your boss's boss (or other people) when you announce your latest awesome invention to ensure that you receive full credit for your ideas? – aroth May 31 '14 at 14:26
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    Politics is the art of building coalitions to get other people to help you achieve those goals of yours that you can't possibly achieve by yourself. What's dirty about that? Of course, you have to shed that purist act and make inglorious compromises and concessions and you have to agree to back up others in their goals, goals that you don't necessarily believe in. So what? If it kills you not to get what you want in exactly the way you want it, don't do it. If you want people to help you, you'll have to hold up your end of the bargain. If you don't, you'll be playing by yourself in no time. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 31 '14 at 14:38
  • Hey Starducks. As explained in our help center, questions here should be practical, answerable, and relate to actual problems you face. SE works a bit differently from other sites, and theoretical/philosophical questions aren't a great fit because they don't have firm answers. Feel free to edit your question to make it a better fit. Thanks in advance! – jmac Jun 1 '14 at 23:47
  • YOu might read this: amazon.com/Secrets-Winning-Office-Politics-Influence-ebook/dp/… – HLGEM Jun 2 '14 at 17:38
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Of course there are examples of entirely positive workplace politics. There are thousands of examples (so many, in fact, that the Workplace moderators will probably close this question because it's so broad).

Here are two:

  1. When you hire a new colleague, take her around and introduce her to your management and your team. As you introduce her, use a few words to say you expect good things from her.

  2. When you're working with people in other departments, get to know them. Ask them what their goals are and how you can help them achieve their goals.

What's going on here? You're building relationships, expectation, and loyalty.

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Absolutely.

"Politics" is nothing more complex than manipulating people and situations to advance an agenda. If your methods are positive, and your agenda is positive, you have "Positive" politics.

Example:

"Hey, Bob (new sales guy). I hear you're meeting with Bill at XYZ Corp next week. Did you know he was the customer who came up with the RazzMataz feature idea on our Multi-Dimensional Widget product line? You should take Steve (engineer) with you, as he's the specialist on that feature."

"Hey Sara (Boss) - I asked Bob to take Steve with him to see XYZ Corp next week, since XYZ Corp really uses the feature Steve made last year. BTW - Steve hasn't had a raise in a while. Is there anything we can do for him?"

With that little maneuver, you got the new sales guy to "owe you one," you got a good bit of recognition for one of your team (which pays off big, later), and maybe even set the stage for one of your team getting a raise.

You now have two people who are grateful for your efforts, and a boss who knows you aren't a credit hog. That's building political capital that you may need, later.

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Are there specific examples of clean "political tactics"?

Of course.

Every time you make sure management is aware of your accomplishments, and the accomplishments of your team - you are playing politics.

Every time you take extra care in a project for an important person or department - you are playing politics.

Every time you decide to include key members of the company in a decision - you are playing politics.

etc, etc...

There's nothing inherently dishonest or deceptive about politics. It only happens when you choose to make it that way.

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    And of course if you don't play, it is that much easier for the dishonest ones to grab your credit and/or to get promoted over the person who refuses to play. You are in the game whether you want to be or not. By refusing to play, you just become a really easy target. If you are a manger and refuse to play, you are costing your team promotions and pay raises too. – HLGEM Jun 2 '14 at 17:34

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