Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Do Charismatic Leaders Handle Office Politics?

Researcher and lead instructor Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute does a questions and answers (Q & A) on dealing with office politics and how charismatic leaders effectively maneuver through this social minefield.

Q: Why does office politics exist in the first place?

A: At the core of most, if not all, relationships is power. Individuals need to gain some sense of power or control to feel empowered. In corporate hierarchies, decision makers from entry level managers to the chief operating officer, wield power and employees want to gain some semblance of influence by being positively associated with those in control.

Q: That’s understandable, but why does it have to be so “cut throat?”

A: “Cut throat” is a relative term. Essentially, the ambition and desire of the participants will determine how far they are willing to go. If you go back to your elementary school days, bringing the teacher an apple could be viewed as the genesis of office politics. The child who gives an apple to a teacher is trying to influence a favorable impression by the teacher. In school, this could relate to better grades. As an adult, favoritism could mean a better position or a higher salary.

Q: So, how do charismatic leaders thrive effectively in office politics within organizations?

A: Once a person is viewed as a charismatic personality or leader, whether they have a managerial position or not, individuals try to get the charismatic leader on their side. Generally, the charismatic leader is liked or at least respected by managers and employees. As such, the charismatic leader stays above the fray. He does not participate in the “In-fighting” because it often does not correspond to his long-term interests. The charismatic leader acts according to his business interests and does not take sides that will impact negatively on these interests.

Q: If charismatic leaders are also employees, and most employees desire power, how can he avoid office politics?

A: He has beliefs and opinions, but has a “Big Picture” sense of his ideals, actions, and purpose. The charismatic leader has contacts inside and outside the organization. He does not rely on any one institution to facilitate his long term objectives. The charismatic leader fights for what is his, but does not limit himself like his fellow employees.

Q: Do the limitations people place on themselves, keep them fighting in office politics?

A: Yes, my mother used to say it is a poor mouse that only has one hole to run to. Most people only have one hole to run to, although they are not mice. Charismatic leaders would never relegate their lives to dependency on one opportunity, employment, or idea.

For more information, visit: Charisma

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