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Diplomacy in undiplomatic situations


How do you remain diplomatic when the job you hold has political ties all over it? Politics and business have always been strange bedfellows, but people in combined pseudo-business positions that are appointed based on politics must learn to walk a thinner line than either of the other fellows.{{more}}

So, how can you accomplish what you need to do when you are seen as a target before your first day?

  • Focus on the job. People will always try to push you to take sides. Before doing so, always go back to the purpose of the position-identify, analyze, and emphasize the goals you are trying to accomplish. It’s not about you and where you stand politically-it’s about the task you have to carry out.
  • Do not flaunt your personal politics. A sure-fire way to antagonize any faction is to use your job to flaunt your political support. Keep your personal political beliefs and activities separate. The fact that you were appointed is indication enough of where you stand politically, whether that’s true or not.
  • Reach out to the other side. As much as possible, reach out to a cross section of people so you garner wide-based support for your project, cause, or service. You have no control over who will accept your invitations but making the effort, even if it is fiercely rejected, is a start. If your overtures are turned down, remember that the objection is likely against what you stand for and is not necessarily a slam against you personally. Continue making those offers and engage all those who are affected by your decisions anytime you see a possible opening.
  • Decide not to get sucked into political fights. Efforts will be made to distract you from your work in order to engage you and to get you wrapped up in discussions and arguments that bear no weight on your job performance. Graciously change the topics or walk away from such discussions as they can only be destructive.
  • Document everything. Keep track of what you have accomplished and the process you went through to do so. Not many people can argue with a track record that is well documented.
  • Get a sense of humor. Humor can be an ice breaker, so use it to your advantage instead of taking everything so seriously.
  • Be relentless. Those who oppose you are just waiting for you to get tired and give up. If you truly believe in the project, cause or service, you must make up your mind to compete the task.

Karen Hinds President/CEO –
Workplace Success Group,
Toll Free: 1-877-902-2775;
Tel: 1-203-757-4103
Creator of The Workplace Success Program (TM)