Friday, July 15, 2011

Should you avoid office politics?

If organizational conflict is inevitable, and you cannot avoid it because it often involves important questions, you need to understand how it typically gets resolved [...] organizational conflicts are resolved through influence. The groups with bosses that have influence will get what they need. Those groups whose bosses lack influence will not.

To be an effective boss, you must influence others -- people and groups over whom you have no formal control -- to get what your group needs and to work for what you believe is best and right. Your own people count on you to do this because they cannot do their work well otherwise. Your organization depends on voices like yours to keep it on the right track.

The best way to build influence is to create ongoing relationships for mutual advantage. There's no reason you cannot do this while holding yourself to high standards of openness, honesty, fairness, and respect.

"Playing politics" and wielding influence in a political environment aren't the same. Ironically, the way to cope with dysfunctional "politics" is to engage others, not avoid them. Hunkering down will only make you less influential and so less effective.

Engage those around you -- not to play political games but to build real bridges -- if you hope to accomplish the work that you believe needs doing. (Read more...)

Source: Why avoiding office conflict is not an option

by Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback for Fortune Magazine

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