Organizational structure, norms, values, culture, etc., all have an impact on a leader’s success. Consider the new or advancing leader. Such a leader is expected to learn how to effectively perform all the important administrative and professional/technical tasks. In addition, the leader needs to master the necessary social skills associated with early effectiveness in the new position. Below are 10 “sociopolitical” categories which may influence a transitioning leader’s early (and enduring) effectiveness. These include, in no particular order, the ability to:

  • enter into an established leader/employee “network”;
  • sense, as well as use, appropriate communication and influence behaviors;
  • sense and appropriately act on keen organizational norms;
  • become aware of, and sensitively interact with, organizational “blockers” and “enablers”;
  • build political bridges by identifying and relating to key formal/informal power sources;
  • become known as a “go-to/can-do” individual;
  • be perceived as a “team player”;
  • sense key organizational issues upon which to create early vision, initiatives, and value;
  • identify and appropriately respond to the requirements of superiors/peers/subordinates; and
  • be perceived as having organizationally appropriate ethics, values, and beliefs.

Please note that these are behavioral skill categories, not actual behaviors. You likely use many of the actual behaviors (such as “interpersonal communication”) within a category every day.

Discussion Question

  1. Does this list of “sociopolitical” skill categories match your sense of what is most required to help ensure a leader’s early success in a new role/position? What might you add or subtract to help ensure the most effective transition into a new job?
  2. In your view, how important to your enduring success in the job are your early efforts in a new leadership role? Presuming you already have practiced some or all of the 10 items, how did you learn to do so?

Please see the attachments for Responses and Background reading information