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Organizational Politics – Developing Political Acumen is Imperative for BRMs

Adaptive Execution / 19 Jan 2017 / By Robina Chatham

Organizational politics are often construed as being destructive, time-wasting or unethical.   Ask anyone what words and phrases spring to mind when you mention the words ‘organizational politics’ and 9 times out of 10 you will get responses such as:

  • Doing deals.
  • Scoring points.
  • Personal agendas.
  • Getting one over on one’s colleagues.
  • Secrecy and subterfuge.
  • Mafiosi tactics.
  • Win-lose situations. 

Organizational politics are, however, simply the result of differing opinions, values, standpoints, perceptions and so on.   As such, they can be dealt with either positively or negatively.   On the positive side, organizational politics are about:

  • Influence.
  • Collaboration.
  • Building relationships.
  • Openness and honesty.
  • Being streetwise.
  • Win-win situations.

Participating in organizational politics is not an option, but how you choose to participate is.  The choice is yours, either positively or negatively, and the outcomes are of your own making.

As a BRM, political acumen is an imperative skill.   It is also imperative that your political behaviour remains on the positive side since, as a BRM, you do not have position power to fall back on; people have to want to do business with you!  Therefore, you need to become liked, respected and trusted.   

Your test will be your ability to maintain your integrity when faced with negative, game playing politics.   Here are a few tips on how to deal with the political foxes of the world:

Make them feel good about themselves:

  • Help them to develop their skills and to shine at something.
  • Build on their suggestions – use the words ‘yes and …’ to steer them rather than ‘yes, but …’.
  • Help them to think through the consequences of their actions by using questioning techniques. 
  • Offer them the ‘limelight’.
  • Massage their ego and praise their intellect.
  • Get them to talk about themselves – remember, this is most people’s favourite subject.   This will have the added benefit of getting to know your ‘enemy’.

Make them feel comfortable about you:

  • Help them to understand you – your values and drivers.
  • Be truthful and transparent.

Do not give them any ammunition:

  • Be firm and strong.
  • Do not be sloppy or slapdash.
  • Keep your cool.

Protect yourself:

  • Cultivate your friends – there is safety in numbers.
  • Cultivate allies – this will limit the bully’s sphere of influence.
  • Keep positive about yourself and maintain your values. 

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21st Century
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