Using political savvy to your advantage

April 19, 2021
Carefully crafted words, with careful delivery, can manipulate others into doing what you want.

In today’s work environment, where emotion overtakes logic, it is more important than ever to work on a soft skill we call political savvy.

The National Institutes of Health’s website states the definition as: the ability to exhibit confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively relating to people at all levels internally and externally.

The Center for Creative Leadership’s website states: “We define political savvy as the ability to maximize and leverage relationships in order to achieve organizational, team, and individual goals.”

So in other words, political savvy is a way in which we carefully craft words and our delivery as to not offend others, all the while doing our best to manipulate others to do what we want them too. I want to share with you some tips on how to use political savvy to give you the advantage.

Tip #1—Remember, there is no such thing as problems, only opportunities. Put these words into your vocabulary and use them often to replace other words.

When workers state that they have a “problem” or an “issue,” remind them of this slogan. Below are some examples:

  • Scenario 1a: There are many issues facing this company, I am not sure how long we can survive.
  • Scenario 1b: There are many opportunities facing this company, I am not sure how long we can survive.
  • Scenario 2a: I have a drinking problem.
  • Scenario 2b: I have a drinking opportunity.

Tip #2—Think before you speak. People with great political savvy have the ability to control their impulses and take time to carefully craft what they want to say.

Example: When someone says something in a meeting and a “That’s what she said” is in order, do not be impulsive. Take a few seconds, think about it, and then say, “That’s what she said.”

Tip #3—Being politically savvy, requires a level of responsibility. There is an easy way to answer questions about responsibility for a job interview when asked.

  • Interviewer: What from your past has shown an immense amount of responsibility?
  • Interviewee: Well, in my previous job, whenever something went wrong, everybody said I was responsible.

Tip #4—Conflict management is key when developing relationships of influence. When two people are having a disagreement and you must intervene, here are some things to say to help them overcome the issue.

  • Scenario 1: Pick a side and say to the other, “You have your entire life to be a jerk. Why not take today off?”
  • Scenario 2: Pick a side and say to the other, “No one likes a jerk, but that does not mean that they don’t exist.”

Tip #5—For those that are difficult to get along with, kill them with sarcasm! is a great place to get some answers to relationship questions. Here are my top five from their website that I use to nurture relationships and leave them in awe of my political savvy.

  • Example 1: Do yourself a favor and ignore anyone who tells you to be yourself. Bad idea in your case.
  • Example 2: You only annoy me when you are breathing.
  • Example 3: I do not know what your problem is, but I am guessing for you it is hard to pronounce.
  • Example 4: I was hoping for a battle of wits, but it would be wrong to attack someone who is totally unarmed.

Tip #6—Effective communication is key to have a highly engaged work force, but there also must be a balance when it comes to sensitive materials being shared. So, when people come to you about rumors of changes that have been flying around the facility, the best way to respond to them is to say, “Oh…I did not tell you? Then, it must not be any of your business!”

Utilize these tips and you will become a master of political savvy.

About the Author: The Captain

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