The most effective leaders have strategic influence skills. They know how to deftly navigate through the unwritten rules and the real way decisions are made. And they do so effectively across multiple stakeholders, agendas, and perspectives.
Why Are Strategic Influence Skills Required?
Strategic influence skills matter because, whether you see it or not, a corporate version of survival of the fittest exists — especially in complex, high stakes, and rapidly changing contexts.
When we hear phrases like “politics as usual” or “they are really political,” we think of such undesirable behaviors as manipulation, backroom deals, self-serving hidden agendas, bad mouthing, back-channeling, or compromising values to get things done. These are all examples of destructive politics or gamesmanship.
Such “bad behaviors” can eat the heart out of an organization. We have seen too many good people be marginalized when processes and policies become “overly political.”
What Happens if You Do Not Possess Strategic Influence Skills?
Naivete and the lack of organizational savvy can threaten anyone’s influence, organizational impact, career growth, credibility, performance, and engagement.
For most people the words integrity and politics don’t mix. The good news is that there is a way to successfully navigate politics at work by learning to recognize political warning signs at work and by using strategic influence skills with integrity.
The 4 Dimensions of Influence at Work
We believe that four dimensions of “influence skills” can be applied effectively in the corporate world. Each dimension of influence requires a different approach and should be part of effective political skills training.
The Bottom Line
Organizational politics are informal, unofficial, and sometimes behind-the-scenes efforts to sell ideas, increase power, or achieve other targeted objectives. Savvy leaders understand unethical behavior, detect it, protect themselves and their teams from it, and are able to ethically and competently sell ideas and influence others for the good of the organization.
To learn more about strategic influence to ethically and competently get results with others, download How to Build the Competency of Organizational Savvy
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