POSITIVE Business Politics (Part 2)

PREVIOUS : Positive BIZ Politics (#1)

SITE : “Effect of Organizational Politics on Organizational Goals & Objectives” (article from Adekunle Ajasin U, Nigeria)

POSITIVE Organizational Politics (orgP) for Leaders / Managers

Analyze the Organization Chart
Office politics often circumvent the formal organizational structure. Map the political power & influence in your organization rather than people’s rank or job title.
ASK: “Who are the real influencers?, Who has authority but tends not to exercise it?, Who is respected?, Who champions or mentors others?, Who is the brains behind the business?”

Appeal to motivations
Organizations want the best talents, investing immense resources to hire, retain & grow their people.
Yet in spite of available perks, many people still choose to leave. The reason is having to deal with bad office politicians who ‘rule’ through fear with criticism, threats or exclusion.

Everyone wants to feel that what we do makes a difference, that we’re contributing to something larger than ourselves, that our skills & talents matter.
So – positive office politics focuses on giving people the opportunity to showcase acquired skills & natural talents.
Find what motivates individuals & use that to inspire action toward company goals. Regularly providing public recognition goes a long way as a powerful motivator.

√ Be Brave – but Not Naive
It’s not smart to keep your distance from people who practice “bad” politics. The expression, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” works best. Be courteous but guarded, stay alert to undercurrents, & don’t shy away from conflicts.
Protect yourself as much as possible from anyone you suspect of Dark Triad characteristic – they’re clever & dangerous. Understand their goals so you can avoid or counter the impact of their negative politicking.

√ Build Your Own Connections
Reach across formal hierarchy in all directions – co-workers, managers & executive, & don’t be afraid of politically powerful people. Instead, get to know them & build high-quality connections that avoid empty flattery. Be friendly with everyone, but avoid aligning too closely with one group or another.

√ Develop “People Skills”
Notice your emotions, what prompts them, & learn how you handle them (self-regulate) so you can think before you act. Learn to listen carefully. Your emotional intelligence also helps to pick up on other people’s emotions, & so you understand what kind of approach they respond to best or least.

√ Look for win-wins
Harmful ‘office politicians’ consider the system a zero-sum game. Gathering support for their project comes at the expense of employees, so looking good to their boss can only happen when others look bad.

However, the best players go for win-wins. They bring together resources that can add unexpected value for all parties. Managers know that working effectively as a team not only makes them look better at the moment, but also puts them in a good position when things change. Staying constructive, solutions-oriented & collaborative is a powerful way to succeed

√ Make the Most of Your Network
Share your achievements, which can act as a “bridge” between you & colleagues, to create opportunities to shine – for you & your team
Also, be accountable for your actions, to indicate your integrity. Asking for feedback is a good way to find out what’s most important to people in your network, & shows that you value their opinions.

√ Neutralize Negative Politics
Don’t add fuel to the fire – avoid passing on rumors. When voicing concerns or criticism, be confident & assertive but not aggressive. Stay professional at all times – not taking sides, or getting sucked into arguments or recriminations.

√ Play with the players
Everyone has some insecurities, but people who play negative office politics have bigger insecurities. Identify what these workers want to achieve, a skilled manager will be better able to create a win-win situation for those employees, & will also help themselves move their career forward.

And when it comes to higher-ups, the No.1 rule is: Never make your ‘superiors’ look bad. To create an ally of a boss, come up with win-win situations – sharing useful ideas, enlisting others & becoming known as a force for good.

√ Understand Informal Networks
Examine people’s interactions & relationships. Find out who gets along with whom, & who finds it harder. Look for in-groups, out-groups or cliques, deciphering how influence flows between or among them, & whether there are any interpersonal conflicts, such as signs of bullying

√ Work cross-functionally – Ditch cliques
Belonging to the office ‘in group’ may gives people a sense of belonging, but it often turns into gossip fests, & marginalizing the less ‘cool’.
Managers who work across teams & roles of all types will benefit by making personal connections, building their reputation & minimizing groupthink, which can encourage creative solutions, and build supporters for their own ideas & goals..

NEXT : POSITIVE BIZ Politics (Part 2)

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