Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Can You Manage At Work Without Politics?

The answer to that question is, probably not.  Wherever people come together seeking goals – whether the same or different ones – and especially where there is competition for scarce resources, politics is there.  Political arenas run along a continuum from minimally to highly and even pathologically political.  The character of the arena in which you work dictates the extent to which political acumen becomes a necessity.


As I described in the first of a Harvard Business Review blog series on politics posted this week, the political landscape where most of us work shifts over time.  While it may be possible to remain a political purist (at least for a while) in some jobs in certain organizations, it is risky to wait around until politics reaches a point beyond your expertise.

The more effective route is to prepare for politics. Keep in mind that not all forms of politics are devious or underhanded.  Some political skills are actually no more than good people skills, like interpersonal sensitivity: knowing when to bring up which topics, when to push for something you believe is important, managing conflict to avoid unnecessary flare-ups, and causing others to feel good about working with you.

Additional, relatively basic and constructive forms of political know-how include:

-       Creating a positive impression - assuring that key people find you and your ideas interesting.

-       Positioning – being in the right place at the right time.

-       Cultivating mentors – locating experienced advisors.

-       Lining up your ducks – making sure any idea you advance has support from the right people.

-       Developing a favor bank – doing for others, not only because you want to, but so that someday when you need to call in a chit, you will have the “currency” to do so.

Why, you might ask yourself, should I spend my valuable time managing politics instead of doing my job?  The truth is that understanding politics is required to do your job in most of today’s organizations. 

Why not start by assessing how things get done -- by whom and in what ways -- where you work?  Seek guidance if it’s available from people who are adept at managing politics.  Become a student of politics.  Learn, for example, to detect disconnects between what is said and what is done, between what is requested and what is rewarded.  In most organizations, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.  It never pays to be the last one to know.

Photo: ulegundo/Shutterstock.com

Malcolm Gladwell live! | Strangers, Storytelling, and Psychology

Join the legend of non-fiction in conversation with best-selling author and poker pro Maria Konnikova.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Map of the World's Countries Rearranged by Population

China moves to Russia and India takes over Canada. The Swiss get Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi India. And the U.S.? It stays where it is. 

Strange Maps

What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

Keep reading Show less

Can a quantum strategy help bring down the house?

Study finds quantum entanglement could, in principle, give a slight advantage in the game of blackjack.

Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash
Surprising Science
In some versions of the game blackjack, one way to win against the house is for players at the table to work as a team to keep track of and covertly communicate amongst each other the cards they have been dealt.
Keep reading Show less

Virgin Galactic uses space tech to create new supersonic jet

The space tourism company Virgin Galactic teams up with Rolls Royce to create a new Mach 3 supersonic aircraft.

New supersonic aircraft from Virgin Galactic.

Credit: Virgin Galactic
Technology & Innovation
  • Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic announces a partnership with Rolls Royce.
  • The space tourism company will create a new supersonic jet for super-fast travel on Earth.
  • The aircraft will travel at Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast