4.3 Politically astute leadership
As internal and external interests and politics continue to diversify, Hartley et al. (2015) present a framework of political astuteness skills that will benefit leaders and managers across all sectors.
Professor Hartley explains the framework in the video at the top of this page: Leadership with political astuteness in tough times [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . You can watch the video in its entirety if you would like (it is over 7 minutes long) or watch the section from 4:23 to 6.46 to hear specifically about the framework.
Activity 4 Are you politically astute?
View the dimensions of the framework below and consider whether you already use these skills or not. Are they relevant to your context?
Y = Yes, N = No and NR = Not Relevant
|Strategic direction and scanning|
|Building alignment and alliances|
|Reading people and situations|
Political astuteness is important both internally (refer to Week 6 to revisit internal politics) and externally. This framework presents a useful checklist of skills, attitudes and behaviours, particularly for a leader who is still developing their strategic thinking. The descriptions presented in the table have been shortened for presentation in this format. For full details, access the original reference.
Is there a future for leadership as we know it?
Several organisations are currently exploring alternatives to leadership in its traditional form. Shared leadership is one option (see Week 4, Section 3 for a reminder), and a more extreme model of this is ‘holacracy’. HolacracyOne, the organisation championing this approach, describes it as replacing ‘the conventional management hierarchy with a tested, customizable self-management practice that empowers people throughout an organization to make meaningful decisions and drive change.’ (HolacracyOne website, 2017) Essentially, authority is distributed, with all employees taking a leadership role and making key decisions.