“Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity.” Albert Einstein
The most important thing here is the political awareness. You do not need to be a political figure or professional politician. However, you need to be aware of when, why and how politics are used in your organization, particularly those that are, most often than not, geared towards personal, rather than organizational, interests.
A project manager should be sensitive, bold and decisive, and tolerant of diverse opinions. He/she should wisely manage behaviours that may jeopardize the interest of the project and the organization. In dealing with political issues, take note of the following:
- Be more professional than political. Politics in organizations may involve the use of unfair or illegal means to get result, which are mostly beneficial to individuals. Such approach breeds rancour, vengeful attitudes and behaviours. Never underrate the intelligence and power of others, irrespective of their levels in the organization. What you need is a committed, not conforming, team to achieve result. Wrongful use of power makes people conformant or mediocre at best.
- You need practice and experience to handle political situations, due to the unique nature of each occurrence and issues involved. No amount of theory, though helpful, will solve political issues.
- Make decision and take action once you can accept the consequences. Remember that sometimes it makes sense to act now and ask for forgiveness later. It may be your best bet in certain situations where nothing seems to be moving or get done. Though this is not a license to indulge in silly behaviours. You still have to take calculated risk, which takes skills and requires sound judgement. It may be necessary for the project manager to secure some alliances when extreme measures have to be taken or extra ordinary decisions have to be made.