“I just want to do my job, I don’t want to deal with workplace politics.” – every executive coaching client
I have never heard a client say they want to be more political – but it is connected to leading for greater influence and impact – so might there another way to think about workplace politics?
Think “Impact” versus “Need to Be Right”
Most executives I work with are at a stage in their leadership where their role is more about “how” they show up versus “what” they do. This often means letting go of being right – being the smartest person in the room – in order to strengthen relationships for greater influence and impact to the business.
Many of my clients use the following framework (thinking through and writing down their thoughts) before a meeting:
- How do I want to “Show Up? What are 3 – 5 things I would like to hear my colleagues say about me after the meeting? (e.g., I listened, remained calm, was thoughtful in my responses, and brought a sense of humor to the meeting).
- What do I want? What is my goal for this meeting?
- What does the other person want? What does a successful meeting look like from my colleague’s point of view?
- What is best for the relationship? What should I say or do in order to further enhance the relationship and lead to more trust?
- What is best for the business? What might I be willing to agree to – or let go of – in the short-term in order to achieve greater long-term influence and impact to the business?
- How do I minimize drama? What do I need to refrain from saying that might trigger the other person and make them feel defensive?
- How do I remain calm? What could the other person say that might make me feel defensive? How will I prepare myself for the meeting and what will I do so I don’t go into reactive mode? If I do get triggered, how will I get centered again (e.g., suggest coffee or bathroom break).
This blog is part of a Mindful Leadership series: A mindful leader is someone who brings out the best in one’s self and others by showing up present, grounded, and compassonate in all situations – especially challenging ones.