Being able to work well with powerful people is a critical work skill. If you can do it, you'll shine as a potential future star. If you can't, your career will quickly stall.
To be good at working with powerful people, you need to recognize that, although you may be in a subordinate role, you can, and must, take action. When you shift the burden of responsibility onto yourself, you gain the sense of control you need to make these relationships work.
Having got yourself into the right mindset, the first step is to identify who these people are in your work life, what they want and need from you, and what you want and need from them. In other words, you need to apply the tools and techniques of formal stakeholder management that are most often associated with project management.
With the Mind Tools Club, you get much, much more than you do here for free.
Learn on the move with the free Mind Tools iPhone, iPad and Android Apps. Short bursts of business training ideal for busy people.