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We all start out naively assuming that all business leaders make decisions based wholly on fact and merit.
The first challenge is to develop your "political sensitivity"--observe and ask questions about how things are done in your business, where the power bases are, and who might have hidden agendas.
Every individual and leader has their comfort zone--behaviors, values, attitudes, fears, and drives that result in productive relationships.
Actions outside these comfort zones will likely lead to feuds, hidden decisions, excessive arguing, counter-productive lobbying, and back-biting.
Before coming and launching a fully-fledged proposal at a committee or in a memorandum, it's smart to test opinion and find out how key people will react.
This enables you to anticipate counter-arguments and update your proposal to answer objections and to accommodate political realities.
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When workplace drama affects you, it can become an insidious cloud that permeates your day-to-day.
Be mindful and ask yourself, "What is actually going on here?" Focus on the fa...
Make a list of all of the awkward, uncomfortable realities that haven't been discussed out in the open.
Set aside time to consciously think through, what's actually bothering you right now and write down these elephants to enable you to resolve these issues.
Be honest with yourself: Are you contributing to the situation negatively or doing anything to help?
Write down the ways in which you've contributed, and identify how you can personally take responsibility.
Office politics are a reality, and avoiding them altogether risks not having a say in what happens.
It also allows people with less experience, skill or knowledge than you to inf...
Map the political power and influence in your organization, rather than people's rank or job title.
Ask yourself questions like, "Who are the real influencers?," "Who has authority but tends not to exercise it?," "Who is respected?," "Who champions or mentors others?," and "Who is the brains behind the business?"
Examine people's interactions and relationships to understand the informal or social networks.
Watch closely (but discreetly and respectfully) to find out who gets along with who, and who finds it more difficult to interact with others.
Notice whether connections are based on friendship, respect, romance, or something else.
When you're second-guessing yourself before communicating with someone, you probably have reservations based on their past reactions.
When you do need to communicate with such people,...
You work with a variety of people and you won't always get along with everyone. Telling yourself, "I don't engage in office politics, I tell it like it is," is a flawed tactic that might just cause more trouble.
When you stick your foot in your mouth, all you can do is apologize and explain it was a genuine mistake.
Ask your contacts in any new environment.
With a clear understanding of how they work and are their organizational hierarchy, you're less likely to do something that will cause unnecessary drama or miscommunication.