Focus your powers of persuasion on the right people and the right issues.
Politically insensitive business people often try to steam-roll others with emotion, a barrage of facts, or a claim of high-level support.
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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.
Just as you do your homework on the facts, it pays to do your homework by visiting the players in a given situation.
Effective management is the process of harmonizing individual interests with the goals of all business stakeholders.
... as often as you ask for support. If you are viewed as always demanding support, but never giving it, your effectiveness will be greatly reduced, even when you are right.
Always communicate the win-win element in every decision.
When your integrity and values are at stake, do not fold.
There are obviously occasions when a subtle or indirect appeal, rather than a direct attack will pay bigger dividends in highly-charged political situations.
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 facts and avoid what you think happened. Know that you can't control how you feel, only how you react.
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 influence decisions that affect you and your team.
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 may need to tailor your messages to the expectation of how they might react.