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Management as a Political Game Published: Sunday, July 9, 2000 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

A few decades ago, Dale Carnegie sentenced that when dealing with people, we should all remember that we are not dealing with creatures of logic. Instead, we are dealing with creatures of emotions, creatures brisling with prejudices and motivated by pride, respect, dignity and vanity. All these emotions are part of the political management and organizational game. The truth is that you are not going to totally eliminate organizational politics. Whether you want to play or not, you are in the organizational game. There are two key options while working in this king of environment and dynamics. Either you are a patsy or you are one of the more serious professional players in this game of high stakes. Once you make the decision of participating in this kind of scenario you better quickly learn the rules…

Yes, ability and hard work are important for achieving success, but this is not enough. If you signed up for a career in management, or you want to stay long within any particular organization, you have agreed to use and improve you ability to handle and interacting with people. Management is purposeful handling of people. The higher you climb within the organizational ladder the stronger has to be your ability handle a more diverse type of group of people. There are people of varying disciplines within organizations. This is the case of different functions and responsibilities as marketing, production, distribution, administration, finance, and so forth. Even within the same functions there are people of different specialties and idiosyncrasies, all of whom have to be manage.

There is no way that someone without good interpersonal skills is going to make it within the political animal jungle. It is George Orwell`s Political Animals Farm, with sharks, jackals, coyotes, lions, tigers, elephants, and many others. They are quick to turn and snap at anyone (especially a chicken) that gets in their way. Charles Darwin labeled the game as one of surviving and moving up.

Some tactics are those of you scratching my back and I`ll scratch yours. The collaboration approach is maintain when both parties have leverage against each other. Learn quickly who are your friends, meaning people who are supportive of your efforts. Less supportive people can be designated enemies. Those who are neither friends or enemies are of a dangerous type. They are called neutrals. Keep neutrals away from enemies for fear a conversion. Don`t be to open with enemies. Information and its use are their assets. Use you friends for marketing and public relations venture. Give recognition for any little help of your friend.

Identify and observe who are the key people all across the organization and maintain good rapport with these people. Never display open animosity to any person. In public setting be cool and friendly, even in the worst of circumstances. Save communication for the best possible moments. Know well the informal labyrinths of the system. Network people throughout the organization. Search for potential helpmates. Minimize you association with the status quo.

Politics is the constructive art of making things possible and leadership is about producing results with people…


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