Building your influence as a Leader

For individuals wanting to develop their leadership skills

Influence and Organizational Politics

Recognize actions that use politics to influence others in a positive way.

Organizational Politics ...

... are at work in your organization. Denying this or purposely abstaining from the use of politics will diminish your capabilities as a leader. Politics exist in every organization because the individuals and groups that make up an organization have different, and often competing, interests.

ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS

  • Politics are at work in your organization

  • Politics exist because of different interests

  • Stakeholders must find ways to cooperate and resolve conflicting interests

  • Interplay between cooperation and competition gives rise to politics

  • Everyone benefits if used right

  • Political power is valuable

USING POLITICS IN A POSITIVE WAY

Positive use of politics builds:

  • Relationships

  • Credibility

  • Influence

  • Political power

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ABUSING POSITION POWER

You can abuse position power by:

  • Using formal authority to make threats and manipulate others

  • Using rewards and consequences to further personal, rather than team, goals

  • Withholding information or deceiving

IMPORTANT FACTORS OF THE POLITICAL REALM

  • Your organization's political frame

  • Yourself

Additional Resource:

Check these 2 Activities: Assessing Your Organization's Political Frame

 

Analyzing the Use of Organizational Politics in Your Organization

CREATING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

  • Build one-on-one relationships.

  • Mutual respect leads to reciprocity.

  • To create strong relationships:

- Understand the other person's point of view.

- Make the support mutual.

PROMOTING UNIFYING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES (tbc)

  • Use your political power to promote unifying goals and objectives.

  • Benefits include:

- Minimizing competition between competing interests
- Cultivating an attitude of doing what's best for organization

- Moving from destructive politics to constructive politics.

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TAKE AWAY

  • Competing interests make politics a fact of life in organizations.

  • The competition for limited resources and the need to cooperate to achieve organizational goals introduces political behavior.

  • Politics can be positive or negative, and as a leader, you must be careful to refrain from using politics in a negative way.

  • Avoid using politics to further the goals of one set of stakeholders at the expense of another, pitting stakeholders against each other, and abusing position power.

  • After you have examined your organization's political frame and how you're going to operate within it, you can start using politics, in a positive way, to influence others.

  • Two strategies you can use are creating strong relationships and promoting unifying goals and objectives. Both will increase your influence and political power, and your leadership capabilities.

POLITICAL POWER

  • Capacity to influence using the political network.

  • Politics can be constructive.

  • Be open and honest, not deceptive and secretive.

  • Relationships are an integral part of your political power.

NEGATIVE POLITICS

Be aware of destructive politics and avoid:

  • Using politics to further the goals of one set of stakeholders at the expense of another

  • Pitting stakeholders against each other

  • Abusing position power

USING POLITICS IN A POSITIVE WAY

You can use politics to:

  • Help remove barriers to team goals.

  • Build alliances with influencers.

  • Build support for goals.

  • Maintain influence as a leader.

  • Acting ethically is key to your capacity to influence others.

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CULTIVATING POSITIVE POLITICS

Leaders commonly apply two strategies to help them use political power appropriately for the good of the organization, and in positive ways:

  • Create strong relationships.

  • Promote unifying goals and objectives.

PRECAUTIONS FOR MAINTAINING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

  • Don't get too personal

  • Don't use manipulation

  • Never foster team spirit based on animosity

PROMOTING UNIFYING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

  • Choose a neutral goal

  • Put shared metrics in place and objectives

  • Promote shared standards 

  • Build a bandwagon

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