OB: Life, Power and Influencing. Is it moral to politic?

Adel Alaali
3 min readNov 21, 2021


How can you ethically use power, influence, and politics to get a promotion?

One must first realize that moral and ethical boundaries exist in all circumstances; even when ‘politicking.’ The truth lies in the mere fact for one to gain power or political influence, they first must caution thought and diligence — two precepts both Napoleons could agree upon (Bonaparte and the Animal Farm guy. ) Therefore, the question should not be ‘how can you ethically use power, influence, and politics to get a promotion, but ‘how would you ethically use….”. Humans have volition; we have the freedom of choice when it comes to deciding whether we will get that promotion via ethical or nonethical means. In essence, power, politics, and influence are not mutually exclusive to one end of the ‘ethical-spectra’ when seeking promotion.

Having not figured life out, and furthermore failing to heed Stillman School of Business’s scholarship, I found myself trudging a path that has been nothing been short arduous. Being an uneducated and chronically impecunious young adult, I was willing to do anything (within moral prudence) to pull myself out up and out of the street.

Fortunately for myself, whoever made me had gifted me with the gift of gab. So, in coming to San Diego, I somehow passed the required financial exams for a new career and hired shortly thereafter as an MLO and SME/enterprise account executive.

With large sums of money comes malfeasance, and when adding a Jordan Belfort esque office, and its added pressures of an individual, team, and officewide revenues; one can further more conjecture the forces of unethical behavior.

I was consistently on the top 3 leadership board for revenues generated, just after having completed 2 months of training and a 3 month ‘ramp up’. In congruence to my personality, ethics and code conduct, I never had to resort to stealing, partying, and golfing to earn my means. Out of 20 reps in my class, only four were there after six months. The stress was real, and the pressure was always on.

My success was not far wide, nor was it reaching.

It was not contingent on raw talent, nor is it procured via malfeasance; but rather it was constructed on a solid footed foundation: ‘Hard work and dedication always persevere.’

Instead of relying on malfeasant behavior, I leveraged the organization’s lax work schedule to work 15–16 hours a day; despite realizing only 8 hours of pay. The hard work paid off, and instead of sleeping on the beach, I now have a one-bedroom, — well — technically one house away from the beach.

I did not need to steal another’s clientele list, nor peep over at a cubical if I overheard someone ‘dropping’ large numbers. Nor did I have to resort to arguing with team members, office members, and management over biased leads. Hard work and dedication will always persevere, hence my opening — we have the volition to choose whether we cede our morality.

Although my promotion was not a corporate one, it certainly was a promotion within the game of ‘life’. And it was done by ethical means, despite myself having many nuanced preponderances.

I appreciate the you have taken to read this.

Hi Braelie,

I would conjecture more-often-than-not — those who work harder or have high degrees of aptitude within their respective fields will find themselves at a disadvantage when seeking promotion. Now, this is just hunch, but I would argue, some executives could view their master craftsmen as nothing more than tools, of which may be highly compensated for, but more-or-less never getting that promotion. Think of highly skilled engineers, pharmacists, and doctors.

I would counterpoise this: hard work and aptitude may lead to higher compensation, but it is not necessarily causation for promotion. In fact, it may actually be a deterrent if one is deficient in politicking. For other factors may influence the outcome in promotion, such as the ability to finesesse — or influence — others.