Political Skill at Work: Impact on Work Effectiveness

Political Skill at Work: Impact on Work Effectiveness

Gerald R. Ferris

Language: English

Pages: 228

ISBN: 0891063900

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A well-documented study rich with individual examples, Political Skill at Work provides examples of individuals using political skill to succeed in the corporate world, as well as in government, education, and sports settings. The authors dig into what political skill is—and isn’t—including how and why it works, methods for development, and tools for measurement.

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who coined the term. In the early 1980s, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Henry Mintzberg independently wrote about the importance of political skill in navigating the turbulent waters of organizations. We make note of their fine work quite liberally throughout this book, and we wish to thank them for their contributions to our thinking and research over the years. Writing this book was a quite an experience—at times frustrating and at times exhilarating, but always interesting. And it W • xiii • xiv •

feelings to show. If your boss makes a comment that makes you angry, displaying anger openly based on what you are experiencing might conceivably cut through the problem and clear the air—but chances are it will only make things worse. Politically skilled individuals understand their emotions and express them in constructive ways. Some jobs (airline flight attendant, for example) have formal rules that specify the proper emotions to express. It is simply part of the job to treat passengers in a

have a reputation for phoniness, the candidates who succeed appear sincere, genuine, and authentic—that is, the what-yousee-is-what-you-get sort of people. This is a key competency of the politically skilled, and it can make the difference in an election. In The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush (2004), Fred Greenstein evaluates our recent presidents on the important qualities of organizational capacity, vision, emotional intelligence, public communication,

positively correlated with self-monitoring (the extent to which you are aware of your environment and responsive to interpersonal cues) and conscientiousness (the extent to which you are attentive to deadlines and finding the best solutions to problems at work). In addition, we believe that political skill is inversely related to general anxiety, meaning that politically skilled individuals are apt to experience less stress and strain than their less skillful counterparts. We have examined three

148–149 Truman, Harry, 120–121, 134 trust, 12, 18, 47, 133 ulterior motives: disguising of, 12; by ingratiator, 15 university professors, 67–68 upward appeal, 13, 147–149 values, 76 videotaped role-playing with feedback, 40–41 Weick, Karl, 127 Wetherell, T. K., 110–111, 135 Winfrey, Oprah, 103 women: in leadership roles, 51; political skill deficiency of, 51–54; workfamily conflict for, 108–109; workplace discrimination against, 50–51 work: redefining of, 5–6; simulations of situations in, 44–45

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