Leadership, power, and politics are three concepts that can be used to do much good or much harm. Each of these concepts in itself is very strong so when the three are combined and triggered they can radiate positive or negative results for those exposed to it. Therefore, in this article, we will concentrate our attention on how they can be used and what are their consequences.
Leadership needs to have an orientation towards people and not just towards productivity. It is necessary to work the human side of the business, valuing employees and the work they do. Leaders need to take the time to know their employees, familiarize themselves with their needs and address them in order to build trust and loyalty towards the company. When people feel valued, they achieve and exceed the expected results.
Power and politics are crucial as well. Leaders can use their power and political skills in a positive or in a negative way. Power used in a positive way in leadership involves influencing rather than demanding, empowering rather than controlling. It promotes employee confidence and motivates them to work more diligent. On the other hand, a leader who uses his/her power in a negative way is one who lead by threat, punishment, and favoritism. Needless to say, that this negative power results in productivity issues and high turnover.
Leaders who use their political skills in a positive way will be able to navigate within the organization’s political system influencing others with desired outcomes and obtain positive results for themselves, others and the organization. However, leaders who use them in a negative way, who engage in unethical behavior for personal advantage and favoritism, will affect work quality. The organization will face lower productivity and higher turnover of competent employees. On the other hand, leaders with no political savvy will experience career paralysis, and eventually extinction.
In conclusion, leadership, power and politics play a crucial role in today’s organizations. They are a pervasive part of organizations and play an important role in lateral relationships. Thus, the necessity to know what they are, what they can do, and how to employ them. The proper use of leadership, power and politics will get you to your destination with people who got your back. On the other hand, use it wrongly and you might find yourself alone or in detention, with collateral damage.