Project Manager at Invisible Site
05 November 2002 09:22am
Project management isn't just about planning, tweaking schedules, assigning resources and measuring progress. It's also about dealing with the political pressure that most of us project managers feel, but tend to ignore in the hope that it will go away.
I'm convinced that for better or for worst, office politics is what makes most companies work. Without it, most businesses will just grind to a halt as personal agendas don't get fufilled and people don't get what they want. So, if you want to get ahead in the business of project management, you have to understand how to make politics work to your advantage.
Office politics doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. It doesn't only mean doing your office mates in, or backstabbing your enemies. It's also about leading from the bottom-up. It's about influencing your colleagues and inspiring them to follow the vision that you have in your mind. It's also building the opportunity to lead espercially when you don't have the authority to do so.
Here are some ideas to play better at office politics:
1. They have to win for you to win. Create a win-win situation for everyone. That means really understanding their points of view and trying to create a compromise between all parties involved. Your great powers of negotiation and diplomacy will come into play here.
2. Everyone expects to get paod back.
This follows from the point above. No one does anything for free. Expect to give back more than you get. Get personal and try to show your supporters that you really care. Make sure they get what they need or want, in one way or another.
3. Love your enemies
I know it's hard to do, but you have to be nice to your enemies. Identify your opposition, try to understand their points of view, and shock them with you generosity in trying to meet them on their own ground. Afterall, aren't we all on the same time, even if we're all playing for different goals. You know that you can't change their minds, but you can at least try to give the impression that you understand and accept their opinions at face value, without criticism or prejudice.
4. Build you networks
Build up your cadre of supporters, from the grassroots level. Find people who will walk behind you and quietly inspire them with your smooth storytelling and humour.
Remember, politics isn't about winning at all costs. It's about maintaining relationships and getting results at the same time.
I would love to hear about how you deal with office politics. How do you gain support for your wacky ideas, and how do you dodge the flaming knives...
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