Politics exist in all organizations but it is interesting to consider whether organizational politics can be a blessing or a curse. This blog post draws on scientific evidence to illustrate how politics can be effective for an organization through a) drawing on the political skills of the talent within the firm and b) implementing strategies that curtail ineffective organizational politics.
The capability to lead and influence people is essential for success even beyond management. Professionals without a formal leadership role find themselves more and more often in situations where it is key to deliberately influence people, teams, divisions or the whole organization. Thus despite – or perhaps precisely because of its great relevance, leadership is often seen as something mystic. This impression is reinforced by a large number of popular business bestsellers about leadership, CEO biographies, and executive consultants who rely on individual experiences and anecdotal evidence when writing and talking about leadership. These sources generally provide only a limited informative value and therefore are of questionable use for the development of leaders and professionals.
In recent years, there has also been a focus on the destructive side of leadership and how dysfunctional leaders can undermine an organization’s value. In fact, empirical research has focused on the personality characteristics of flawed leaders and have pointed to negative personality traits as predictors of leadership derailment (Hogan & Hogan, 2001; Kippenberger, 1997). There appear to be several personality traits that are related to leader failure yet the three that are consistent across all studies are narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, referred to as the “Dark Triad” (Paulhus & Williams, 2002).
One of the most important aspects of organizational life is that management and staff feel secure in taking risks. The concept of psychological safety is the belief that a team is safe to take interpersonal risks without negative consequences for their career (Kahn, 1990). Team members who feel accepted within their teams experience psychological safety. Recent research on psychological safety show that it is an important factor for workplace effectiveness (Edmondson & Lei, 2014).
Management without goals? Impossible, if you believe the large number of popular science and specialized books about management topics. Goals, target agreements, and bonus systems connected to target achievement are all part of every manager’s toolbox.
There is a growing need among managers to understand issues concerning organisational job satisfaction. It is quite tempting to regard job satisfaction as simply being ‘happy’ at work, but this topic is slightly more complex than we would normally expect. Let us start by defining job satisfaction and look into what it involves. One of the most common definitions for job satisfaction came out in 1976 from an American psychologist named Edwin Locke. As he put, it is simply “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences”. In other words, workers draw on their perceptions and emotions to evaluate jobs in some degree of favour or disfavour.
I attended an instructor led leadership training session a couple of weeks ago. The training was well organized, the training material of good quality and the trainers applied various training methodologies such as presentation sessions and interactive group work activities. However, there was one thing that really struck me.
Leadership is a phenomenon that has interested people for hundreds of years. One rather outdated explanatory approach still plays a prominent role in practice and the media in particular: The so-called Great Man Theory. In this blog and in our short course on leadership and its impact on company performance we present what this theory is all about and why it is time to look for alternative approaches.