Career Progress: What Is The Political Style You Prefer?

In this three-part blog series on career planning and management, we have already looked at career stage and career direction. Finally, to help your career progress, we consider the political style you prefer to manage your personal brand and navigate conflict in your organisation. What’s your preference and how effective is it? What might you need to develop?

Research by Envisia Learning shows that people view organisational politics and pursue self-interests very differently. In this context, politics consists of two related behaviours:

  1. Impression Management – your tendency to take credit and market your achievements versus your tendency to share credit and market the achievements of others. How much do you promote yourself and other team members?
  2. Conflict Management – your tendency to pursue your self-interests versus your tendency to allow others to have their own way. How much do you attempt to influence, persuade and fight for yourself and other team members?

This provides a useful framework to help you better understand your political style orientation at work. In summary, the combination results in four clusters: Promoter, Strategist, Team Player, and Independent Player.


political styleIn this orientation, you may promote your accomplishments more frequently than giving credit for and marketing those of other team members. Also, some people seek a more competitive win-lose approach to effectively manage conflict and differences with others. So, you tend to be tenacious in pursuing your professional and career goals. Note, this is not about being manipulative or Machiavellian!


political styleYou promote equally your successes and those of other team members. Also, you have an equally strong tendency to want your own way and allow others to have their own way. This is a collaborative win-win approach to managing conflict and differences with others. Here, you strategically plan and orchestrate your career through networking and developing critical skills, knowledge, and abilities that are highly valued by the organisation.

Team player

political styleWith impression management, you promote the team’s efforts more frequently than your own. You tend to allow others to have their own way. Typically, you seek to compromise or accommodate to effectively manage or broker conflict and differences with others. This is common where you are strongly motivated by your dedication and commitment to the overall goals and objectives of the team or organisation.

Independent player

political styleLastly, with this orientation, you don’t tend to market frequently your successes and those of others. You are not inclined to strongly seek your own way or allow others to have their own way. Typically, you seek to avoid interpersonal confrontation and minimise escalation of interpersonal tensions. You postpone dealing with threatening situations to effectively manage conflict and differences with others. Instead, you prefer to rely on your known expertise, competence and proven accomplishments as your political base of power and influence within the organisation. So, your philosophy focuses on doing high-quality work, allowing your expertise to sell itself and avoid playing organisational politics and games with others.

How would you describe the political culture in your organisation? Currently, how well does your political style work? What needs adapting for your career progress while staying true to yourself and the values of your employer?

Need coaching help? Get in touch for a no-obligation chat about progressing in your career.

By |2018-08-12T09:00:47+00:00August 12th, 2018|Students & Graduates, Professionals|0 Comments

About the Author:

David helps you to be clearer, more confident, and purposeful so you take the right job and career actions for you. Career Coach, Apprentice Mentoring Trainer, Blogger, Author of Learning to Leap: a Guide to Being More Employable.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.