053: Effective Ways to Tactfully Navigate Office Politics with Mira Brancu

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Office politics exist in virtually all organisations in the world. They often get a bad rep because, more often than not, people use them to push their agendas or grow their power and influence. But what are they, and what's their role in today's office environment? First, workplace politics are defined as the complex social structure of a workplace. They involve team members using their powers, authority, and delegation to push personal agendas.


The thing you need to understand here is that workplace politics can be difficult to navigate. And while they have their flaws, you'll be better off being able to navigate them efficiently.  


Despite all the negative attributes around office politics, they are not inherently evil. At the end of the day, most people only want influence, relationships, and the power that comes with it. Furthermore, all of us play some form of politics; we just subtly engage in it. So, if you're starting out in your career or have joined a new organisation and think it's best to sit out politics, you're in for a rude surprise. Our guest for today, Dr. Mira Brancu, believes that sitting out of office politics is probably the worst thing you can do for your career. She believes that despite the potential for exploitation and misuse, there are healthy ways to navigate the murky waters of office politics. Tune in as she shares insights into how to navigate office politics, the myths around office politics, and so much more.


  • Getting to know Dr. Mira Brancu (3:59)

  • Office politics will always exist, no matter the organization (08:28)

  • The Most valuable lesson learnt from the mentor (8:34)

  • Why office politics are not necessarily a bad thing (10:28)

  • The three-workplace politics framework (11:00)

  • When inclusion meets office politics (13:56)

  • Some of the biggest traps in some industries (14:15)

  • The difference between millennials and Gen Z (16:40)

  • First thing to focus on as a person with influence (Leaders) (18:20)

  • Why most leaders struggle giving feedback (20:40)

  • Organisational culture and how it dictates office politics (21:46)

  • How much does the Culture dictate Politics or Politics dictates the Culture? (22:07)

  • What to do when a company's office politics are not in line with your beliefs (23:40)

  • Steps to make decisions or Change as a Leader (24:00)

  • Networking and how to make office politics work for you (27:35)

  • Vulnerability and why it's so important in today's work environment (29:20)

  • Top five Tips for Leaders (30:53)

  • Parting Thoughts (37:05)

Links and Resources

Connect with Dr. Brancu via LinkedIn

Book: Millennials Guide to Workplace Politics by Dr. Mira Brancu

Book: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable




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Dr. Mira Brancu, is a psychologist and Associate Professor at Duke who wrote the book "Millennials' Guide to Workplace Politics" and offers talks on this topic as well as more broadly about leadership and team development. She has 20+ years of experience in large, complex organisations, including the federal government, academia, and healthcare. After 10 years in management and leadership roles in one of the largest organisations in the US, she now consults with leaders at all levels, applying both her personal experiences and her expertise in behaviour and culture change to the work.

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