Thursday, June 24, 2010

Office Politics => Adapt Your Style

"Office Politics." I was conducting an interview with one of my client's colleagues, as part of the 360 assessment that is included in my coaching services. That dreaded phrase came up in response to my question about areas of improvement. It's a catch-all phrase implying the need for a variety of behaviors, often viewed negatively, to maintain a good reputation and move ahead at work. The inability to navigate office politics can affect people's morales, careers, relationships, and productivity. What did this person mean this time?

"She needs to adapt, slow down and learn their styles, adapt to theirs when she is communicating. She is willing to speak her mind, which is good and something she shouldn't change. Just how she does it - she needs to be aware of how she is affecting her listeners."

Ah. In this case we're talking about "behavior styles", an area of interpersonal skills that has been referred to as the very crux of emotional intelligence. If you can master the ins and outs of behavior styles - knowing not only yours but how to identify others' styles and how and when to adapt to them -then you can gain positive influence, improve relationships and yes, it will give you a leg up on navigating office politics.

I guess being a supplicant is one way...

But seriously, in future postings, I will address behavior styles, office politics, and managing up in more detail. As a coach, I hear these themes repeatedly. Excellent leaders know how to manage these areas and can coach their employees to manage them too.

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