The AMA Handbook of Leadership

By Marshall Goldsmith; John Baldoni et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17

Adjusting the Political Temperature of Your Team

Gary Ranker and Colin Gautrey

Political activity—the behaviors that people use as they seek to influence others—is inevitable among any group of human beings. The desire to influence is built into the human psyche. At its most basic level, we all have a need to be accepted by those around us. As we mature and start our careers, the desire grows with our ambitions, vision, and plans for success.

The extent to which this political activity is positive or negative depends on the individual. Some people are so focused on their own gain that they will stop at nothing to get what they want. Others have more altruistic dispositions, and once their basic needs have been met, they are able to work for the good of the organization. They recognize and respect the needs and desires of those around them.

When people work together they bring with them their unique mix of beliefs, attitudes, and motivations. People with high levels of motivation for success—either for their own gain or for that of the organization—will put a great deal of energy and effort into their political activity. The intensity, or the temperature, of the political activity will vary depending on the strength of motivation expressed by each individual in the team. It can also be affected by the team leader.

The challenges that arise from the current business climate make it essential that political temperature be heightened so that organizations can stretch their thinking, develop new innovative strategies, and implement plans swiftly. The teams that succeed will feature vigorous

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