That’s the main thought in a blog posted on Big Think yesterday. One of the most substantial obstacles to developing political skill is the commonly held belief that politics in the workplace is mostly negative.
In actuality, politics runs along a continuum from positive to negative. More positive forms tend to involve interpersonal sensitivity and astute timing — the who, what, where, when and how of getting things done. How, for example, to introduce a new idea at the right time, with the right people, in a way conducive to positive reception involves political skill. As does managing humor to avoid offense. How to not “step on toes” and ways to make others feel good about working with you are positive forms of politics. So too is knowing which people to have on board before you make suggestions — and getting them there.
And what of the more devious, surreptitious forms? It doesn’t hurt to know what they look like, especially if you work in a highly political or pathologically political arena. Knowing and using them, however, are very different. At least if you know about them, you won’t be blindsided.