What is Political Skill in I-O Psychology?

Students who are majoring in industrial-organizational psychology have likely heard the term political skill. But just what does this term mean, and what is political skill comprised of? Political skill is a unique ability that allows some people in organizations to motivate others to act in such a way as to help organizations meet their various goals. There are several traits that persons with political skill possess, and some of the more important traits are described below.

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Effective Communication Abilities

One important aspect of political skill is effective communication. Politically skilled persons know both when to talk and how to talk in order to meet their goals. They spend time considering situations before communicating ideas. They are also in control of their emotions and are able to communicate with others regardless of the situation. They are able to talk to persons at all levels in the organization while maintaining strong interpersonal relationships.

Keen Powers of Perception

Another essential aspect of political skill is keen powers of perception. Politically skilled I-O psychologists are able to see into the future and can see things that others cannot. They are highly understanding of social interactions and can spot problems before they become large issues. They are able to interpret behavior and determine the proper action to take to correct nonproductive behavior. They are also highly self-aware and able to adjust their own behavior to suit any situation.

Extensive Networks

According to an article published on the website known as Reliable Plant, another important aspect of politically skilled persons is their possession of extensive networks. Politically skilled people typically have large networks that include individuals inside and outside of the organization. This often includes such people as organizational peers, upper-level management, vendors, managers of similar companies, stakeholders, and other important individuals that can help the company succeed.

High Levels of Integrity

Politically skilled industrial-organizational psychologists also have high levels of integrity. Even in extremely stressful situations, they hold themselves well and behave professionally. They are extremely trustworthy as well and can be expected to complete all tasks required of them. They are honest in almost all situations but know how to react when faced with situations in which total honesty may not be the best choice. Their words can be taken at face value due to their high levels of sincerity.

Concern for All

A concern for everyone in the company is another common trait that politically skilled persons possess. When making decisions pertaining to the company, politically skilled persons choose solutions that will benefit everyone rather than themselves or a select few. Because of this, coworkers typically feel comfortable going to these types of persons with job-related concerns and issues.

People who are able to influence others and motivate them to act are said to be politically skilled. There are many traits common to industrial-organizational psychologists who possess political skill, but the traits described above are among the most common.