POLITICAL ACUMEN is a leadership necessity

Organisation politics: it has a negative connotation. People think it is something dirty. Most people hate it and prefer to avoid it. Yet, there are four levels of politics in organizations: minimally, moderately, highly, and pathologically political organisations. It is part of our everyday business life. Therefore, I think political proficiency is not a choice for leaders, but it’s a necessity that can be improved.

I had a coaching client in the past who said that - he hates politics and try to avoid it as much as possible. The problem with this is the very moment you leave the political arena, you limit your circle of influence as a leader and you let your people down.

Instead I work with my executive coaching clients on how to utilise constructive politics with light heart. The terminology of constructive politics comes from Philippe Rosinski. It consists of two parts: 1) Building the power of leader and 2) service, because politics cannot be constructive if it is only for the benefit of the leader, therefore, it must work in the service of others as well. As for the former one there are various sources of power leaders can turn to in order to sharper their political acumen in a constructive way.

Questions for Leaders:

  • What kind of conscious efforts you could do in order to expand and strengthen your external network?
  • Who are your allies within the organisation?
  • What strategy do you need in order to strengthen your influence and impact within the organisation and outside of the organisation?
  • What alternatives do you have in any situations? What is your Plan B approach?
  • How trustworthy are you as a leader? How do you know that your people trust you? What evidence do you have?
  • What inter- and intrapersonal skills of yours can help you to strengthen your leadership power?
  • What skills of yours undermine your leadership power?

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