Political Skills of a Leader

It is difficult to imagine something even more controversial than politics and political skills of leaders. 

What is interesting is that if you ask two different people to define politics and political skills, you will get two different sets of definitions. 

I define politics as an art of presenting and defending interests of others (people or groups of people) while accomplishing leadership goals

Accordingly, the political skills is the ability to present and defend interests of others (people or groups of people) while accomplishing leadership goals.

While accomplishing leadership goals” is critical here. If you remove this part from the definition of political skills, you will get a definition of diplomatic skills.

Yes, diplomacy is essentially an art of presenting and defending interests of others. This is one of many definitions, of course!

What is the difference? Presenting and defending interests of others is the END GOAL of a diplomat. For leaders, this is just one of the means to achieve their LEADERSHIP GOALS based on their VISION. 

 There are three critical parts of political skills: 

  1. Excellent knowledge of the environment
  2. Excellent knowledge of the hierarchy of stakeholders related to leadership goals 
  3. Personal quality

The first two parts contribute towards understanding of terrain and allow to identify opportunities for presenting and defending interests of others while pursuing leadership goals. The third part allows leaders to take advantage of these opportunities. This part includes other leadership skills such as persuasion skills and negotiation skills as well as outstanding self-control (as I mentioned earlier in my articles, all leadership skills are interconnected).

 

 Photos appear under license agreement with istockphoto.

 1469409

Be Sociable, Share!