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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

No Dirty Politics

No Dirty Politics - but you cannot afford to be apolitical leader in the political eco-system of an organisation. No one in leadership roles can avoid political side of their enterprise much as you may be a champion at delivering the value-creation role that you may be appointed. All organisations exist in a political environment where decisions are made, resources are allocated, rewards are shared, careers are made and careers destroyed. To be effective, a leader cannot hunker down the power structure and claim to focus only on his work role and assignment delivery. Each successful leader has but to thus play certain political roles. Like or dislike. No choice but to play these roles effectively to be able to cope with certain organisation realities to make. Each time a senior candidate says whilst appearing in an interview (generally to impress the panel) that he is not political, he actually does not realise but unknowingly he is inadequate and indicates his failure in performing his leadership role. Look at these political organisational realities and roles a leader has to play... 👉you have to trouble-shoot for your organisation. Different groups within the organisation may have different perspectives on common organisational issues which at times are contrarian and conflicting, causing trouble to each other 👉you have to be the information conduit. You have to be a clearing house of information between different groups with multiple agendas that directly and tacitly impact you. 👉you have to negotiate for your group. Resources required by your group will not so easily be forthcoming from the higher Management as all groups will be pitching and preassurising for higher allocation of resources 👉you have to speak for your group as its spokesperson, ambassador, advocate and PR agent. You are expected to broadcast & spread the good news and insulate against spreading of unfortunate bad news. 👉you have to protect your group as a gate-keeper and thus buffer your team from insiders, outsiders and 'upsiders'. No leader can succeed in performing his role effectively in such a politically preassurising reality, unless he develops ability to influence and thus initiate action. Between the team you lead and the rest of the organisation, a leader has to play an influencing & positive 'political' role. A leader cannot positively play this role until he is deeply engaged 'push & pull' of the organisational reality. A leader may fail to do so but that would mean that the unprincipled, game players and 'bullies' within the system who derive satisfaction not from the work they do or the purpose they serve but from plotting, scheming and poisoning internal battles, will make such a leader a 'humpty-dumpty' and dump him 'irrepairably' from that high wall ! Don't be an opportunist and play politics of convenience. 'Playing politics' and wielding influence in a political environment aren't really the same say Linda Hill and Kent Lineback. Power corrupts but powerlessness equally frustrates a leader. A suave and effective leader should not be a politician but certainly cannot afford to be apolitical in the political eco-system of the enterprise. 

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