We have learned a great deal about the criticality of political skill during our groundbreaking survey with practising managers. These lessons are now being factored into our work with clients as they develop their capability to influence with integrity and gain the results they need for their organisations and themselves. The purpose of this article is to summarise the key findings and discuss their implications and is based on a full academic article.
In preparation for the survey, a full academic literature review was conducted to establish a detailed breakdown of political skill. This resulted in a set of fifty-five sub skills. As such, this is by far the most detailed construct developed so far.
From this analysis, a survey was developed to determine how critical each element of political skill is to success in the respondent’s role. This questionnaire was then made available through various channels between June and September 2007. In total, 141 people participated, of which 72% were based in the UK and 65% were male. Demographic data regarding organisational level, age, and function was also collected.
The final stage of the work was a series of qualitative interviews used primarily to test the results and gauge reactions to some of the findings.
The Key Findings
The main outcomes from the research can be summarised as follows…
- The Criticality of Political Skill. All of the elements of political skill presented in the survey were deemed to be critical by all of the participants.
- Understanding vs. Influencing. It was surprising to see that those who took part in the survey regarded the development of understanding as less critical than the actual act of influencing.
- Men vs. Women. The marked difference between the genders; however, this is due to minority position rather than gender.
- The Value of Experience. This research has highlighted that different skills within the political domain are recognised by more senior and experienced individuals.
- Social Niceties. There is clear evidence emerging that less value is placed on social skills in the workplace.
We are keen to expand this work into different parts of the world, and if you think you can support this extended work in any way, please get in touch.