Developing one’s political sense is often a recurring challenge among my clients. It is a necessary evil to progress in corporations, and often our ability—or lack thereof—to play the political game makes us cringe. When we do not feel powerful, we avoid the game and we judge those who do it skillfully. In fact, we look at political sense as an additional skill that some people have and others don’t.
Understanding political issues means focusing on what is most human, and political games are essential for decoding informal networks in our work environment and optimizing our understanding of the environment in which we operate.
What do our bosses or our colleagues pay attention to? What is important to them?
These factors tell us what to avoid in our interventions with this person at the risk of alienating them.
Who in your team has control and exercises their formal or informal influence?
Who recruited whom?
Who protects whom?
It helps to understand affiliations to avoid running into walls of resistance.
Understanding and distinguishing formal power from informal allows us to be more present in what is happening and strategically influences our business relationships. Remember that you are the one who gives others the power over you at a relational level.
The best course of action is to work with your allies first to consolidate your positions, then influence the indifferent to become allies and, ultimately, try to identify and understand the opponents to better position yourself.
Staying honest and accepting that everyone has different priorities makes it possible to be more flexible and more strategic in your functions, which certainly brings more satisfaction to your work.