Recognizing the “Political Realities” to Improve the Power of Leadership Influence

Recognizing the “Political Realities” to Improve the Power of Leadership Influence

Achieving success for leaders often requires understanding and navigating the political realities of organizations, its executives and its culture.

During my many years of coaching executives I have been amazed at the lack of understanding some of them have had in recognizing the political realities of their own organizational situations. One example that comes to mind recently is from a senior executive who was having challenges in her interactions with her boss, the CEO of the company. The CEO felt that she was not timely in delivering on her commitments to him. This often resulted in his being frustrated and feeling like she did not take him seriously; which eventually led to his having the impression that she was trying to undermine him.
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Win/Win Works with Difficult People

One of the most successful executives I know deals with difficult personalities by establishing a win/win mind set at the beginning of every interaction.  He walks into meetings and declares that no matter what difficulties or barriers emerge, he will find a way to create a win/win outcome. With win/win as the destination, this leader gives context to objections, emotional outbursts, and aggressive behaviors. He keeps the focus on finding areas of agreement.

You, too, can use a win/win approach when dealing with difficult people:

  • Listen to what the other person is really saying (and not saying)
  • Ask questions to uncover conscious and sub-conscious needs
  • Don’t allow anyone to “push your buttons”
  • Focus on the win/win destination to preempt emotional responses
  • Rephrase other peoples’ points of view, and seek clarification of their positions  to show that you really understand where they are coming from
  • Calmly articulate your own needs, and share how what you need will help all of you reach the win/win destination