Not surprising given the often mysterious nature of the political world of work. And of course, the experience of falling prey to those who play the politics at the cost of integrity and to the detriment of the organisation.
Which is perhaps why people, when they face a political challenge, actually end up digging themselves deeper into the mire without realising it.
- Automatically thinking that the perpetrators are “out to get them” and taking it personally.
- Attempting to fight back with political moves of their own.
- Spending an inordinate amount of time fretting about the situation.
- Bemoaning the sorry state of affairs to anyone who will listen.
- Assuming that there is nothing they can do.
The problem here, is that they are quite naturally biased towards a negative viewpoint. And by engaging in the actions above, they are actually making things worse rather than better.
Instead, I like to advocate that when facing a political problem, people need to:
- Calmly accept that this is the way the world works, and is part of life’s rich tapestry.
- Recognise that what appears to be political manoeuvring is simply someone disagreeing with the proposed course of action (for whatever reason).
- Adopting a constructive attitude, engage with people around the problem and seek out the facts - with an open mind.
- Recognise that less than perfect relationships may make some of the “facts” inaccurate, and come up with a “best guess” after consulting with a wide group of trusted allies.
- Engage the parties in an open dialogue to solve the problem because created for the project or organisation, in an adjective manner as possible.
- Smile, and keep remembering that it isn’t likely to be personal, just someone else trying to get their way, for whatever reason.
Now, I do accept this may be a tall order for some, but given the skills of facilitation you have learned as a project manager, applying them to a political situation is doable - once you learn to put aside your emotional reactions.
Review the OnDemand webinar How to Handle Project Politics