Does Your Political Style Suit Where You Work?

Does Your Political Style Suit Where You Work?

There’s no way to live in this world and avoid politics.  It’s in our homes, schools, workplaces and just about anywhere else we turn.  While there’s no shortage of people who claim to hate politics, escaping it is nearly impossible.  Thus the important question is: which types of politics are you ready and willing to deal with?  


The continuum consists of minimally, moderately, highly and pathologically political arenas. Whether you can function effectively in one or more of these arenas depends, to a large extent, on your preferred political style as well as how far you can stretch to accommodate your surroundings.  Are you a political purist who believes that reward comes from just doing your job well?  Do you detest even minimally managing how things are said, to whom, when and in what way? 

If not, are you more of a team player?  You understand that to get things done in some environments it’s important, within reason, to do what’s best for the team or project at hand.  Trading favors, smoothing the path with interpersonal skill and engaging in relatively harmless forms of interpersonal management don’t trouble you. 

If neither of these styles describes you, perhaps you’re a street fighter.  People who fit this style have their eyes open for what works politically.  They play along to get along, develop favor banks, help those who can also be of help, watch their backs, know how to verbally spar and obsequiously relent.  These are only some of their often well-hidden skills. 

Finally, there are the maneuverers.  Few things are out-of-bounds in their games.  They poison wells, dodge and weave to deceive, destroy obstacles in their way and have little regard for the aspirations or careers they derail or destroy.  Too many maneuverers among the decision makers breeds pathological politics.  Fortunately, pathological arenas usually self-destruct.  Unfortunately, it can take some time and a lot of harm is done in the process.

So, where do you fit?  If you are a purist and work in a highly or pathologically political arena, you likely drive home stressed to the gills.  Your life is one of constant, negative surprises because you have not learned the ways of the highly political beast.  If you are a maneuverer working in a minimally or moderately political arena, your skills of deception may be insufficient to pull the wool over the eyes of those who prefer to operate more honestly. 

It’s useful for all of us to assess our political style or combination of styles and to ask ourselves whether we need to learn more in order to continue to work where we are or to be promoted.  If that’s not comfortable, moving to another type of arena may be the answer.  Not all street fighters are bad people.  In fact, many get good things accomplished.  But if you’re not a street fighter and that’s what is valued where you work, you may be in the wrong place.

If politics of any sort still seems distasteful to you, consider, instead, knowing your own parameters in order to avoid getting sucked into unethical political activities.  Hating all politics isn’t the answer.  Politics is an unavoidable fact anywhere people live or work together.  Know what you’re dealing with and whether some change is needed.  It far surpasses walking about blindly and letting harm come your way when a little knowledge could easily make all the difference. 

Photo:  mtkang/shutterstock.com

Kathleen will be presenting a webinar on this topic—power and influence—for the University of Connecticut on October 14,  2014.

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

What is the rarest blood type?

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

China's "artificial sun" sets new record for fusion power

China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.

Credit: STR via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession

The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.

Videos
  • How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
  • One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down.
  • Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.

Sex & Relationships

There never was a male fertility crisis

A new study suggests that reports of the impending infertility of the human male are greatly exaggerated.

Quantcast