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Management Tips
Illustration by Neil Webb

Management Tips

with Todd Dewett

Video: Using positive power and politics

Man with glasses: Politics is part of work. It usually gets a bad rap. Politics can be good or bad, but your goal is clear. Behave in a way that lets you build and use political power while not contributing to the negative stereotype. I don't want to justify bad political behaviors, but it is somewhat understandable where these behaviors come from. In an environment where one group's success can be limited by another group's success, some leaders feel compelled to begin empire building. They make decisions not simply based on what they need for them and their group, but also based on how they might gain leverage or control over other groups.
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Using positive power and politics
      3m 8s
    2. Creating needed debate
      3m 2s
  2. 31s
    1. Welcome
      31s
  3. 4m 56s
    1. Being a leader, not a micromanager
      2m 21s
    2. Managing your manager
      2m 35s
  4. 5m 11s
    1. Managing millennials
      2m 18s
    2. Managing a multigenerational workforce
      2m 53s
  5. 4m 48s
    1. Avoiding burnout at work
      2m 30s
    2. Learning how to say no
      2m 18s
  6. 5m 38s
    1. Managing poor performance
      2m 45s
    2. Delivering employee feedback
      2m 53s
  7. 5m 26s
    1. Cultivating future leaders
      2m 46s
    2. Hiring to fill gaps in your team
      2m 40s
  8. 5m 12s
    1. Networking within your organization
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding organizational politics
      2m 29s
  9. 5m 8s
    1. Retaining top performers
      2m 31s
    2. Engaging your high potentials
      2m 37s
  10. 5m 29s
    1. Getting your team unstuck
      2m 48s
    2. Coaching your team
      2m 41s
  11. 4m 54s
    1. Offering a needed apology
      2m 25s
    2. Fixing mistakes
      2m 29s
  12. 5m 24s
    1. Creating a lasting first impression
      2m 33s
    2. Reading body language
      2m 51s
  13. 5m 45s
    1. Becoming a change agent
      3m 0s
    2. Finding targets for innovation
      2m 45s
  14. 4m 41s
    1. Earning your next promotion
      2m 33s
    2. Planning for your next raise
      2m 8s
  15. 5m 23s
    1. Making work fun
      2m 43s
    2. Finding purpose in your work
      2m 40s
  16. 5m 0s
    1. Becoming a better listener
      2m 44s
    2. Communicating with candor
      2m 16s
  17. 5m 48s
    1. Assessing your organization's change readiness
      2m 51s
    2. Initiating change conversations
      2m 57s
  18. 5m 6s
    1. Building trust
      2m 32s
    2. Avoiding blame
      2m 34s
  19. 5m 39s
    1. Embracing failure
      2m 33s
    2. Developing your creativity
      3m 6s
  20. 6m 25s
    1. Making better decisions at work
      3m 9s
    2. Creating solutions, not policies
      3m 16s
  21. 5m 42s
    1. Motivating team members
      2m 35s
    2. Empowering through BHAGs
      3m 7s
  22. 6m 6s
    1. Breaking through with brainstorming
      3m 16s
    2. Embracing the devil's advocate
      2m 50s
  23. 4m 32s
    1. Storytelling at work
      2m 39s
    2. Building transparency into your work culture
      1m 53s
  24. 5m 22s
    1. Keeping a virtual team connected
      2m 27s
    2. Building a destination workplace
      2m 55s
  25. 5m 34s
    1. Surviving the loneliness of leadership
      2m 52s
    2. Developing work and life balance
      2m 42s
  26. 5m 22s
    1. Working with people you don't like
      2m 50s
    2. Knowing the difference between quitting and refocusing
      2m 32s
  27. 5m 7s
    1. Motivating by getting your hands dirty
      2m 17s
    2. Using persuasion at work
      2m 50s
  28. 5m 39s
    1. Planning your team-building retreat
      2m 50s
    2. Facilitating your team-building retreat
      2m 49s
  29. 4m 59s
    1. 5 Phrases to Avoid
      2m 39s
    2. The keys to great conversation
      2m 20s
  30. 5m 24s
    1. Giving a realistic job preview
      2m 30s
    2. Rethinking the job description
      2m 54s
  31. 5m 39s
    1. Surviving a bad boss
      3m 1s
    2. Making and recovering from mistakes
      2m 38s
  32. 5m 30s
    1. Discovering the problem with teams
      2m 39s
    2. Getting serious about autonomy
      2m 51s
  33. 5m 59s
    1. Managing creative talent
      3m 2s
    2. Managing technical talent
      2m 57s
  34. 5m 57s
    1. Three dangerous leadership assumptions
      3m 4s
    2. The danger of short-term thinking
      2m 53s
  35. 5m 47s
    1. Leading as an introvert
      3m 13s
    2. Are leaders born or bred?
      2m 34s
  36. 6m 3s
    1. Fighting bureaucracy
      3m 6s
    2. Not all best practices are best
      2m 57s
  37. 6m 40s
    1. Selling your ideas
      2m 30s
    2. Leading with ideas over numbers
      4m 10s
  38. 5m 56s
    1. Restarting a stalled project
      3m 15s
    2. Building a better meeting
      2m 41s
  39. 5m 5s
    1. Navigating common ethical dilemmas
      2m 31s
    2. Making tough decisions
      2m 34s
  40. 4m 22s
    1. Maximizing personal potential
      2m 16s
    2. Diversity’s real power
      2m 6s
  41. 6m 49s
    1. Thinking about hiring in a new way
      3m 18s
    2. Creative onboarding
      3m 31s
  42. 5m 33s
    1. Pushing your limits
      2m 57s
    2. Understanding strengths and weaknesses
      2m 36s
  43. 5m 58s
    1. Questioning competency models
      3m 17s
    2. Hiring a few originals
      2m 41s
  44. 5m 22s
    1. Developing executive presence
      2m 56s
    2. Earning respect
      2m 26s
  45. 6m 8s
    1. Building consensus
      3m 0s
    2. Speaking to be heard
      3m 8s
  46. 6m 19s
    1. Embracing personal evolution
      3m 25s
    2. The art of delayed gratification
      2m 54s
  47. 6m 4s
    1. Rethinking productivity
      2m 59s
    2. Understanding averages and exceptions
      3m 5s

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Management Tips
4h 15m Appropriate for all Aug 21, 2013 Updated Jul 16, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this weekly series, Todd Dewett, PhD, shares the tips respected and motivated managers use to improve rapport, navigate tricky situations, build better relationships, and drive the business forward. Each week, we'll release two tips ranging from avoiding the dreaded micromanagement to managing a multigenerational workforce, cultivating better listening skills, and developing an understanding of your organization's politics. Check back every Wednesday for more Management Tips.

Subjects:
Business Business Skills Career Development Time Management Management Communication Education Teacher Professional Development
Author:
Todd Dewett

Using positive power and politics

Man with glasses: Politics is part of work. It usually gets a bad rap. Politics can be good or bad, but your goal is clear. Behave in a way that lets you build and use political power while not contributing to the negative stereotype. I don't want to justify bad political behaviors, but it is somewhat understandable where these behaviors come from. In an environment where one group's success can be limited by another group's success, some leaders feel compelled to begin empire building. They make decisions not simply based on what they need for them and their group, but also based on how they might gain leverage or control over other groups.

Sometimes they do this by attempting to assert control over others. This might include trying to make changes to the organizational chart and reporting channels, or by trying to put in place rules and procedures that ensure one group has more control over another. Another tactic that is very common is to create duplicate resources. If they can't control others, they'll try to build skills in their group that makes another group less powerful. For example, they might try to create their own IT or HR personnel. Predictably this creates big inefficiencies and harms culture.

Those are both big, long-term, and negative political moves. In addition, there's also a host of short-term interpersonal behaviors you want to avoid too including criticizing others publicly, intentionally bypassing someone in the chain of command, disloyalty, and burning bridges by creating ill will. All of these are far to common. Believe it or not, they hurt the person using these behaviors even though they think they're gaining power. Not you. You're going to take just the opposite approach, one that has more integrity and in fact works better.

You're goal is to amass power through two things, great performance and great relationships. First, nothing trumps great performance. When you perform at a high level, you don't have to try to gain attention and influence. It comes to you. The real X factor is your ability to build productive relationships. Here are three quick tips to get you moving. First, remember that great relationships are like great bank accounts. You have to make regular deposits. That means sharing useful information and offering help.

I'm talking about once every month or two, not once each year. Next, even when you're not interacting with someone, you can still help them by sharing good news that concerns them. If you have a great colleague, or a good contact and they just scored a big win, find the right time and place to share the good news with others in your network. Finally, find opportunities to connect people. If you meet someone and you know they could be an interesting contact for another one of your contacts, consider reaching out electronically to make the introduction.

It's funny. Too often politics is viewed negatively at work, but it doesn't have to be that way. To gain and use power positively is good. When you perform well above average, seek to help others, speak well of others, and help connect people, others will support you too.

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