Do office politics help or hinder IT?

If you’re keeping up with news about IT hiring trends, it’s no surprise that technical skills related to the cloud and big data are in demand.

But there are some soft skills that come into play for a successful IT career, as with any other job: mainly, understanding office politics.

A recent survey from staffing firm Robert Half suggests that more than half of U.S. workers who work in an office environment think office politics are at least somewhat necessary to getting ahead.
Office Politics

Another 42 per cent answered “not at all necessary,” but I have to wonder whether those respondents just think politics shouldn’t be necessary for success.

When it comes to new IT projects, politics can be a major barrier to getting things done. And when you think office politics, you might think petty gossip and irritating people who suck up to the boss.

All of that can be true, but I also think of office politics as simply good communication. Being able to actually have a conversation around business is becoming more and more critical in IT. And as Computerworld blogger Patrick Thibodeau pointed out this week, business professionals with less in depth knowledge of technology might be the new hot hires.

Obviously, without the right skill set and certifications, an IT professional won’t advance too far or too fast. But acknowledging office politics in the right way can be critical to getting ahead individually and maybe even pushing along IT initiatives.

So, do office politics just hold back projects, or can IT professionals (and their projects) benefit from playing the game?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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