Office politics can be a challenge for women as they advance in their careers. Women believe they are perceived negatively when engaging in organizational politics and prefer to even use different terms such as “influencing.” When men talk about office politics, they are not hemmed in by such perceptions and use words like “winning” and “competition.” How can women navigate these choppy waters?

A consulting firm conducted a survey and based on the results, created these recommendations:

Create a visual map of influencers within the organization. Who makes decisions? Who might be a potential resource and who might impede progress? Women can begin to build influence by connecting with these individuals and forming relationships. 

Further refine this map by establishing a scaffolding of support in the form of “agents” and “truth tellers” — those who can help you advance and those who will give honest feedback when needed. Building networks is key to gaining influence.

Be open to thinking big. Women tend to underestimate their skills and abilities and may tend to stay within their comfort zone. Gaining influence requires boldness and new ideas. 

Making office politics work to anyone’s advantage can be a challenge and even more so for women. Building networks of influence in an authentic manner is achievable for women.

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