Friday, June 8, 2007

Politics at Work - Part Two

I made a note to myself in a previous post to continue reading and learning about "politics at work" by exploring the work of Gerald Ferris of the Florida State University.

The summary hypothesis of much of Ferris' work centers on the notion that politics in the office are unavoidable and that leaders must master political process. In encouraging us to rethink our notion of politics in the workplace Ferris proposes that political skill is a significant predictor of achievement in the workplace.

Of course there is good politics and bad politics. Bad or negative politics is what comes to mind when individuals work and manipulate the system to their individual gain and to the disadvantage of others. They need to get their own way. And the worst scenario, when their way goes against conventional wisdom or industry standards or best practices.

Ferris also sites ambiguity as an environmental variable that foster bad politics. "Politics thrives in ambiguity." (Note for quiet leaders - restate your mission and ensure the clarity of team and group roles.)

The good in politics depends on leaders who use politics for the betterment of the organization, to build credibility, to promote the good work of their teams, and as a vehicle of effective communication and support. Sounds like a quiet leader approach. Work quietly behind the scenes. Foster good communication and treat people well. Respect.

You can read more on Ferris and his work at the
Center for Creative Leadership.

Thanks for reading. Lead quietly.

No comments: