Navigating Your Workplace

Murkey Water

Organizational politics.

I know… those two little words made you shutter. No matter how large or small an organization is—all of them have politics. Regardless of where you are in your organization, navigating these can be tricky!

Terry Hildebrandt, PhD, PCC is back to Middle Seats to share some tips on becoming more political savvy.

Here’s what he’s got to say:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 1.14.22 PMPolitics do not need to be negative. In fact, one can use political savvy in a very ethical and positive way to expand one’s influence and increase the probability of getting what you want at work and in life.

 

Here are some steps:

 

Step 1: Recognize Key Players

 

In any given scenario there will be key players. The obvious players include the executive sponsor, the team members, any relevant customers or suppliers, and supporting staff. What is less clear are the hidden players that work behind the scenes to influence the stakeholders to make certain decisions or take certain actions.

 

Best Practice: Create a Stakeholder Map listing each of the key players and their roles and relationships.

 

Step 2: Identify Interests

 

Each of the key players identified in step 1 will have their own interests that need to be understood. It is your job to build relationships with the key players in order to understand their true motivations. This will require some time and networking skills to talk to those close to key stakeholders to understand their perspectives.

 

Best Practice: create a table listing all the key players and their interests as they become clear to you.

 

Step 3: Understanding Authority and Power

 

Understanding who has authority (those empowered by the organization to make decisions) and who has power (those who have the ability to influence those in authority to make decisions) among the key players will help you understand how influence flows in an organization, how decisions are made, and how resources get allocated.

 

Best Practice: creating a power and authority map of who has access to the ears of key managers can help you better understand how power and authority flow in your organization.

 

Check back next week for Terry’s final two steps!

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