Personal Strategies of Influence, Negotiation, Conflict, and Balance

Wherever people work with each other, they build relationships, exercise power, and come into conflict with one another. A strictly matter-of-fact and completely harmonic collaboration is not only unrealistic but would also not be at all desirable. Thus, working on content and working on relationships must go hand in hand. Anybody wanting to make a significant contribution to the company’s objectives individually or with a team cannot help having to back up good work with micro-political strategies; i.e., they must use smart tactics to guide their actions relative to the particular circumstances and power relationships. A competent manager must be able to build solid relationships, forge alliances, parry off attacks, and exert his or her own influence in an effective and responsible way. This includes the ability to reflect on relationships and power, and handle them wisely — both one’s own power and other people’s.

Similarly important are the individual balance strategies that enable us to respond to the varying stresses and strains of day-to-day work in a systematic way and fully exploit our potentials and resources as needed. The more exciting and pressing the professional challenges are, the greater the danger of maximizing short-term performance at the expense of personal sustainability, and in doing so neglecting one’s health, wellbeing, and social contacts - at the risk of full-scale burn-out. The more rigid the prevailing mindsets, structures, and processes, the easier it is to lose the ability to think outside the box and act playfully. By practicing professional stress and time management, organizing work according to flow principles, and employing improvement/innovation cycles, it is possible to keep oneself productive and adaptable over the years and enjoy one’s work, while also having a satisfying private life. Good self-management is always strategic self-management as well.