Of course, one should not make generalisations, but in my experience, project managers tend to be very practical, like to stick to the facts, and play things straight - oh, and do their very best for the benefit of the organisation. And, that they see politics as either a necessary evil or a complete waste of time, and resource.
Some project managers are borderline Machiavellian, playing the dark arts like pros.
Regardless of where you sit on this continuum, you are not going to avoid the need to get involved in the politics, because it will get involved with you. And if you maintain a strong negative reaction to it, it will likely get the better of you.
Because you’ll be loathe to do it, you’ll do it half-heartedly, and you’ll probably miss the nuances. Oh, and your opponents will probably be much better at it than you, because they’ve been practicing since the school playground!
Here are a few thoughts to help take the heat out of it, so you will more readily do what you need to do, for the good of your project (of course!):
- Note that since politics are the tactics and behaviours of influence, there are good politics as well as bad politics, it just depends how you choose to do it.
- Think of political activity as the activity of decision-making, either at a group or individual level, and for personal or collective gain. That’s it, just how people make decisions and try to get others to make decisions.
- There are usually only three reasons why people hate the politics: They have been personally damaged by it; They don’t understand it; They are rubbish at it. Or perhaps, all three!
So, you have a choice. Are you going to continue sticking your head in the sand, or are you going to get out there and start trying to understand how all these decisions are getting made?
Review the OnDemand webinar How to Handle Project Politics