A cynic might say that when two or more people are gathered within a context of competition for promotion, money and plum assignments, feelers come out seeking to identify fault, vulnerability and something that can be exploited. And while that is certainly a very real part of the political game played in any organization, there is a flipside to this coin.
Organizational politics can be a constructive and positive aspect of a manager’s career, if properly understood and practiced. Rather than engaging in behavior that undermines trust and seeks to gain personal advantage with oblique maneuvers, enlightened professionals influence organizational culture in a more principled way. They cultivate mutually productive relationships with key-players; they recognize and negotiate existing power-structures and they purposefully seek buy-in for ideas with more than a peripheral understanding of people’s individual agendas and personal values.