03 Jun 2014
We have seen a lot of politicians on television recently but have you ever stopped to look at the politicians in your business? Organisational politics occur in all organisations and sectors regardless of size, although you will rarely find anyone who openly admits to being involved.
Playing office politics may not be a game in which you wish to indulge, but knowing how it is played may enable you to benefit from it rather than become a victim. To understand the politics in your workplace you need to know who really makes the decisions in a given situation – and it is not always the person with the most important sounding title. To benefit you need to know what this person or committee is about and how you can align your objectives with theirs.
You also need to be aware of your own political savvy!
If you would like to improve things for yourself and your colleagues, but tend to avoid unpleasant politics and continually bleat about unfairness without understanding where the power really lies or how to get things done, you are probably a Silly Sheep, interested in others but politically unaware.
Equally unsuccessful in getting what they want are self-interested people who are oblivious to the structures and processes of power and influence, and spend a lot of time braying and demanding attention from the wrong people at the wrong time. Dumb Donkeys simply cannot understand why they consistently fail to get support for what they want to do.
Conversely, if you are pretty good at flattery, sleight of hand and other Machiavellian chicanery in order to get your own way at the expenses of others, you are a Sly Fox. Despite doing well initially, Sly Foxes often do not make it to the top as they rarely have the trust and loyalty of others.
However, if you have looked at the big picture and have worked out how to use personal and organisational agendas to create positive results for all, you are a Wise Owl. Wise Owls know there are usually options for achieving objectives and weigh up who to approach, how, when and where to make their case and why it may be accepted.
The outcomes of organisational politics, like their parliamentary counterparts, affect everyone, whether or not they take part in the process, so it is prudent to understand the processes and how they might impact on you.