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Political Skill at Work: Impact on Work Effectiveness Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The authors dig into what political skill is-and isn't-including how and why it works, methods for development, and tools for measurement.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PREFACE

Most people earn their living in large or small organizations--businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, or local, state, or national govenment departments. In group efforts like these, you often need the ability to influence others. Indeed, even the self-employed must deal with customers and other individuals in ways that require influence. But how do you influence others? Force people to comply with your wishes or interests? Threaten them? Intimidate them? No, of course not. You need to develop a style of interaction that allows you to read situations, interpret them, and exhibit just the right kind of behavior to induce others to do what you want--and do it willingly, as if it were their idea. That is, you need political skill.

This book is about the nature of political skill and the roles it plays in your ability to influence others, and therefore, in your personal job and career success. It is a how-to as well as a what-to book. That is, beyond describing what to do, it also hows how to do it in ways that will be effective and result in successful influence. Bookstores are full of books of recipes for "winning at office politics"--but their readers do not turn into overnight successes (or even long-term successes) because it takes more than simply knowing what to do; you have to do it in convincing ways and understand the "how" of influence. To know both what approach to take and how to implement it when you need to influence others at work is the essence of political skill.

Not Mere Manipulation

Everyone marvels at those people who are so incredibly good at getting what they want in the workplace: the politicians and high-profile corporate executives who play their constituencies, boards of directors, or shareholders like virtuoso musicians as they pursue their personal agendas. These people have amazing political skill. But political skill is not just something for celebrities. Nor is it simply something you can use to get out of trouble or to get away with self-serving efforts to increase your personal wealth at the expense of many others. Indeed, despite the many and well-publicized instances in the news, this kind of slippery behavior is a misuse of political skill, not an intrinsic part of it. Political skill is an effective and essential characteristic; properly applied, it makes good things happen both for those who use it and for the organizations in which they work.

At one time or another, everyone needs to be able to influence others to follow their ideas, decisions, and new programs of action, and in today's world that takes political skill. So this book is about learning to understand, realize, enhance, and use political skill at work. Indeed, the double entendre in the title is quite intentional: we are interested in political skill at work (in the workplace), but we are also interested in characterizing political skill at work (in the way it operates and how it results in personal and organizational effectiveness).

Structure of the Book

Part One introduces you to political skill, shows you where the interest in political skill came from, and explains why you need it to thrive and survive in organizations today. Also, this section of the book shows how to measure political skill, providing an eighteen-item inventory that allows you to assess your level of political skill. It also discusses ways to train or develop political skill in people.

Part Two shows how you can use political skill for self-improvement and to increase work effectiveness. The chapters in this section address getting hired, maximizing job performance and career success, enhancing your reputation, and coping with stress and facilitating health and well-being. It then discusses how political skill can help organizations realize greater effectiveness through leadership and team performance, and concludes with a brief summary of the book's observations.

The Appendix presents some of the detailed findings from our research into the role of political skill and its relationship to other factors that influence performance in the workplace. In addition, throughout the book, you will see references to scholarly work in this field. The study of political skill has benefited from much careful work that sorts out common knowledge from commonly accepted myth, and the results provide useful background that will allow you to proceed with confidence.

To be an effective leader, you need to possess a number of important characteristics. However, what really distinguishes the best leaders from all the rest is their political skill.

So we invite you to sit back, relax, and let us share with you what we have learned about political skill. Political skill is a fascinating concept, a tool that can help you excel at work; in the pages that follow, we describe just what political skill can do for you. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891063900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891063902
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,197,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jon K. Palmer on April 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book appears to offer guidance and advice about how to develop political skill for use in the workplace. Unfortunately, it spends the bulk of its time convincing us how and why political skill is important.

If what you're looking for is a good discussion on why you might look harder at developing political skill, this book will convince you to do just that. If you're looking for a book about how to develop or enhance that skill, look for another book.
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Format: Hardcover
Part I of the book focuses on an understanding of political skill, in three chapters:
Considering the Nature of Political Skill;
Measuring Political Skill;
Developing Political Skill.

Part II concerns Using Political Skill for Work Effectiveness, consisting of five key chapters:
Hiring for Fit;
Maximizing Job Performance and Career Success;
Enhancing Your Reputation;
Managing Job Stress;
Building Leadership and Team Performance.

There is summary chapter and an appendix presenting research findings on the relationship of political skill to other concepts.

The book includes a Political Skill Inventory to help the reader measure his/her general level of skill.

This is a good book for gaining insights into the nature of political skill and its relationship to a variety of success factors. While it is not a 'how to' volume, it sheds a good deal of light on a subject that can only questionably be captured in words. When you get right down to it, it is very debatable if any book can turn a reader not already politically skillful into a politically skilled person simply through guidelines, tips, and stories. Becoming aware of the dimensions or aspects of political skill, however, may be helpful for moving in the right direction (gaining yardage). That's what this book offers. Beyond that, there are just a few other books on this subject that you may want to check out. But, if you're seriously looking to become politically skillful, try seeking out a mentor, or at least a few great role models--one or two, preferably living!.
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By Lulu on September 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book arrived in an appropriate amount of time and was exactly as stated in ad. Pleasure doing business with you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book. It can be quite useful to the typical worker to help navigate the political landscape of their company and keep their career trajectory moving forward. It is also a great book for consultants and coaches who are trying to help individuals for whom political skill does not come naturally. The authors are truly experts on political skill and have been doing academic research on the topic for many years. It is science based, but still easy to read. This book is great for individuals who don't appreciate fluffy self-help type books but could benefit from gaining perspective and learning what behaviors they may need to watch out for or alter and what skills they need to develop or refine.
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