The Republican National Convention took place last week and the Democratic National Convention is coming up soon. As the November election approaches, we are bombarded with local and national political ads on TV, radio, print, and online with increased frequency. As a consequence, our tolerance for politics and the banter will no doubt be pushed to its limit by the time we reach Election Day.

Perhaps you are tuned into the politics and, in fact, love it. Perhaps you only half listen to the nasty ads and accusations. But this I do know. All the negativity and politicking leave us with a generally bad impression of politics and politicians.

In light of a history of scandals, we no longer trust our public figures, and as a consequence, we certainly don’t want to be considered political ourselves. But here’s the conundrum. You may hate the politics, but in the work environment, you need to be politically savvy if you want to move your career forward.

So what do I mean by politically savvy? What I mean is that you need to engage enough in the politics to understand the way decisions are made in your company and who makes them. And if you hide in your office and never take the time to understand this, it could very well cost you a promotion or even worse, your job. In other words, you need to understand the political realities and, thereby, how best to navigate in your corporate environment to reach your goals.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How well do I understand the way decisions are made at my company?
  2. How well do I understand the informal power network?
  3. How connected am I to the information underground?
  4. How developed are my relationships with key decision makers and power brokers?
  5. How influential am I?

As much as you may dislike politics, you must be savvy enough to know who in the organization can impact your career. Identify these influencers and build relationships that foster your credibility.

Don’t let your distaste for politics hold you back from achieving your goals.