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Navigating Politics at Work

By Professor Javier Marcos-Cuevas
Navigating politics at work blog (3)
A candid look at management practice reveals the political dimension of today's businesses and organisations. On a daily basis, managers have to handle conflicting agendas arising from a mix of company objectives and personal goals.


Effective managers recognise the role of politics in day-to-day delivery, they nurture their political skills and see the management of 'self-interest' and organisational change as being central to success.


These leadership insights can help you work within the political environment to maximise your performance.


  • Network

    Communicate the positive spin of your work to achieve business buy-in. It's also vital to network outside your business - becoming active in your trade organisation or a figurehead in your industry can help you make allies with powerful stakeholders.

  • Know your stakeholders and organisation

    Understanding the agendas and motivations of the decision-makers within your business, and the critical organisational issues it faces can help you angle your work to achieve mutually beneficial solutions.

  • Stimulate organic change

    Employees at the bottom level of an organisation often have sympathies based on issues not always understood by senior management. Play to their goals to drive change from below.

  • Behave with tact

    Adhere to organisational standards and procedures to ensure you are seen as contributing to company priorities and the agreed type of change.

  • Manage upwards

    Provide colleagues with space to ensure more senior members of your team embrace and adopt your ethics.


The importance of individual interest lies at the heart of successful political management. Managers need to take into account 'self-interest' and 'organisational interest' when interacting with others, ensuring each works hand in hand with the other.



What next?

Cranfield's General Management Portfolio of programmes offers comprehensive leadership development to take you to the next level at every stage of your career.  

Each of our three programmes offer a comprehensive and integrated personal development experience for managers at critical transition points in their leadership career.

Talent Development Programme - for early career professionals with high managerial potential.

General Management Programme - for senior managers who are expanding their responsibilities.

Breakthrough Leadership Programme - for executives and directors who are preparing their organisation for the future.


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