How to develop your political sense in business
Rémi Zunino
Rémi Zunino

How to develop your political sense in business

If there is an essential ingredient in the development of a professional career, it is that of political sense.

Political sense is the ability to fully analyze the needs, expectations, perceptions and points of view of each of the groups of actors that are part of your environment. The political meaning is also:

- Situational intelligence, knowing when to say and not to say

- the management of one's personal image,

- reading the relationships between the actors,

- the understanding of decision rules in the various environments,

- the acceptance and decoding of unwritten and implicit rules.

Developing your political sense is not denying your values or manipulating people.

Why develop your political sense?

To integrate into a company and/or a team, develop influential communication and advance your career, in particular to/from positions of responsibility.

What attitude should be adopted in the Management Committee?

But it is sometimes difficult to feel legitimate when the weight of education and that of society invite you to stay behind. A fortiori when it comes to applying for positions of high responsibility.

“It is important to take into account all dimensions of power, including the most dramatic ones: to understand that all of your actions, all of your words are signed. There is a real additional requirement in power. At the beginning of my career, I was shy and withdrawn. Today I have learned to develop behaviors that have a greater impact.”Françoise Weber, Health Watch Institute

Thus, when it comes to their relationship with politics and power, some people often feel ambivalent: on the one hand, the desire to assume important — and legitimate — responsibilities, on the other hand, the impression of being uncomfortable with exposing themselves too much to light.

Be lucid

The first obstacle, and not the least, is to imagine being able to access a position of high responsibility without simultaneously developing your political sense in your work environment. Giving up on the ideal world is a first step: a social group operates around rites, codes, and implicit rules that are an integral part of corporate culture.

Another pitfall to avoid: confusing authenticity with naivety. Asserting what you think loud and clear when a duty of restraint is required is not the best effect. Each society has its official history, taboos, and flaws. The aim here is to become aware of the “invisible” perimeter where you can evolve so as not to disrupt your progress, and to know what you can do to enter the corporate game yourself.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I say everything?
  • Who can I say what to?
  • Can I show it all?

Study your environment

Know how to handle organization codes, means being able to decode alliance games and the strategic challenges of the various actors in the company. It is THE condition Sine qua non to incorporate significant levels of responsibility. Political meaning is exactly that: to understand how decisions are made within the company, and to know how to use these rules while remaining attentive to the challenges of each group of actors. An attitude that allows you to become familiar with the codes of power, to assimilate them in order to exploit them as best as possible. As your area of influence grows, so will your political acumen.

Other questions to ask yourself:

  • Who can I have my application/project supported by?
  • Have I thought of several scenarios?

Anticipate and seize opportunities

“To govern is to foresee. And to plan for nothing is to run for nothing.” A journalist and politician of the 19th century, Emile de Girardin was right. Developing your political sense is also a question of foresight. This obviously requires a great deal of control of its environment and the actors that make it up in order to predict risks and manage them. But it is also about having the ability to seize opportunities when they arise and to amplify their resonance in order to increase their performance. The effective strategy: supporting the right project at the right time, and maintaining good relationships with influential and decision-making people.

The last questions to ask yourself to develop your political sense:

  • Am I one step ahead?
  • Am I doing/saying in line with my priorities, my project?


Individual coaching:

Allow your managers and managers to sharpen their political sense in person with the help of a Talentis Executive Coach. Sparring partner of your Talents, the coach will challenge each of your employees to allow them to give the best of themselves.

Learn more >>

Online coaching:

With Click & Coach, an online business coaching platform, coaching by coach becomes more accessible and flexible.Click & Coach allows talents all over the world to benefit from individual, punctual and targeted coaching to meet specific needs such as starting a job.

Learn more >>

Supporting women's leadership:

For almost 15 years, Talentis has been supporting major groups in the development of gender diversity policies and careers for women.

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