Have you have heard the expression positive politics? Yes, politics in the work environment can be positive!
By Marsha Egan
How many of you have heard the expression positive politics? This is the opposite negative politics and I believe you can see a shift in political positioning and behavior as your move to the higher levels in just about any organization.
As you go up the corporate ladder, or any organizational structural ladder, you’re going to find that the people who are higher to the top are rarely engaged in what I consider to be negative politicking. Negative politicking is where the overt “back stabbing” occurs. That’s where people drop hints about peoples’ shortcomings or mistakes. That’s where people corner others in meetings, without warning. People who are inexperienced in organizational dynamics have not yet learned the risk of tattle tailing, or talking someone down. They mistakenly believe that by knocking their competition down, they will rise. Oh, how untrue.
The people who rise have learned the skill of positive promotion. In other words, they don’t find things wrong with people any more. That’s what the people at the lower levels of the organizations do. Instead, they work at collaboration and doing positive things for others who are deserving.
What I’m talking about is positive politicking. You can recognize it when you see it. As an example, in a group a people who are working together, a valuable project comes available. And all of a sudden, one of those people is given the project by another person that they’ve worked with. This visible project is not only a reward for excellent prior work, it can be the result of collaborative relationships built with the leader of the group.
This is a reality in organizational America, whether it’s corporate or not. What we want to get ourselves in position to do is to award that kind of positive visibility to other people, and we will ultimately be a beneficiary of it as well.
We want to position ourselves to make positive opportunities available to people within our organizations. We want to do this regularly. We want to hand things off instead of keeping it selfishly for ourselves. These kinds things come back tenfold for people who do it.
This strategy is not only project based, it can be as simple as complimenting a job well done to senior executives. Sincere, unselfish and altruistic behaviors are noticed, and most times rewarded.
We rarely forget the time we were uncomfortably cornered and embarrassed in an organizational setting. It breeds a long term reluctance to help that person. The converse is true. I’m sure every one of you can think about a time when somebody did something positive for you and your career and how appreciative you were. And since that time, if that person asks you to do just about anything, you’ll do it for them. Well, this is the way positive politicking works. And this is how we can create our own luck within our organizational structures.
So, out with negative politicking, we don’t want to rat out people for things that they’ve done wrong. That behavior actually makes the “rat” look even worse than “victim.” That behavior happens with the people at the lower end of their organizations.
What we want to do is do positive things for other people. And this is the way that we can further the aims of the organization, and find some luck in it for ourselves. Because, most good deeds are returned.
Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC is CEO of The Egan Group, Inc., a Reading, PA based professional coaching firm. She is a certified executive coach and professional speaker, specializing in leadership development and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.marshaegan.com .