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The Politically Intelligent Leader

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Table of Contents

Contents Preface Acknowledgements Part I: Developing Your Political Intelligence 1 The Politically Intelligent Leader Defined This chapter defines the politically intelligent leader and discusses the importance of raising your PIQ. It explains the difference between internal and external politics, and shoots down some of the myths about politics. 2 Blocks to Political Intelligence Ten things that block leaders from using their political intelligence are presented. Antidotes for each of them are discussed. 3 Trust: The Heart of Effective Political Action Trust is defined and explored as the core of all political strategies. Presented are 10 strategies to build trusting relationships. Part II: Using Smart Political Strategies 4 External Strategies Nineteen external political strategies are presented to be used by the politically intelligent leader who is dealing with situations outside the organization. 5 Internal Strategies Eighteen local political strategies are described, which can enhance power and influence inside the organization. Part III: Understanding How to Work with Political Styles 6 Understanding Your Own Political Style Through the use of an assessment instrument, The Inventory of Political Styles, which is included here, readers are able to analyze their own primary, secondary, and tertiary political styles. This chapter describes nine political styles and offers insights about how typical behaviors connected with each style can help or hinder the individual and the organization. 7 Working Effectively with Other Political Styles The reader learns to analyze the political styles of other key players and to customize a set of strategies that tend to be persuasive with those of various styles. Part IV: Staying on an Ethical Course in Politically Charged Situations 8 The Politically Ethical Leader Four Questions prompt reflection on ethical decisions in a political environment. 9 Dealing with Special Public Sector Groups This chapter examines the unique political problems and strategies for dealing with unions and union leadership, elected boards and councils, volunteers, advisory groups, and foundations. 10 The Machiavellian Leader If you have the misfortune of working with a Machiavellian leader, then you need to read this chapter thoroughly. In it we define such leadership and give you ways to cope with this style. 11 Digging Your Way Out of a Political Hole Problems are examined that arise from digging yourself a political hole, and tips are offered on how to get yourself out of it. Part V: Pulling It All Together 12 Practicing What We Preach Scenarios give the reader practice in using the strategies and ideas presented in the earlier chapters to become a politically intelligent leader. 13 Questions: We Get Questions In this final chapter we answer the questions posed most often in our speaking engagements. Conclusion Appendix: Inventory of Political Styles References Index

About the Author

Patricia Clark White has been superintendent of three award-winning California school districts, a national and international consultant and presenter, and an executive coach to leaders dealing with political issues. She is currently a professor and associate dean for the School of Education at Brandman University, overseeing the doctoral program in Organizational Leadership. Thomas R. Harvey is a professor of organizational leadership in the doctoral program at the University of La Verne. He has been the dean of the School of Organizational Management and the chairman of the Department of Educational Management for fourteen years and is the author of several books including Checklist for Change; The Practical Decision Maker; Building Teams, Building People; and The Soul of Leadership. Shari L. Fox is currently an executive coach to K-12 site and district level administrators. She is also an adjunct professor and learning group leader at the University of La Verne. She had served as school superintendent prior to retirement and now finds great joy in volunteering in her grandson Payton's classroom where she can observe firsthand the "sandbox politics" that begin at an early age.


The Politically Intelligent Leader is a must-read for all school superintendents and executive cabinet members. It is a comprehensive review and analysis of politics in an organization [and] teaches how to build trust and increase your political capital so you can get things done. The book provides real-life examples of political and ethical dilemmas and how to navigate through them. I highly recommend it. -- Vincent J. Christakos, President of the California Association of School Business Officials; and Chief Business Official for Hemet Unified School District Leadership is about people - how to navigate and engage others in reaching organizational goals. The Politically Intelligent Leader is a needed and essential resource for leaders at all levels hoping to positively impact their organization and make a difference in their work. By probing deeper into the political dynamics of leadership, the authors provide ways to examine, both internally and externally, the political decisions made every day in leadership. They offer you, the leader, a plethora of ideas for refining your own leadership and provide tools for assessing your current situation. -- Dr. Deana L. Porterfield, President, Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary Whether you call it persuading opinion, influencing decisions, managing the narrative, or controlling the outcome, some form and degree of politics exists in virtually every organization and environment. Top leaders must be able to skillfully navigate the political waters that surround them each day. The Politically Intelligent Leader contains a lifetime of navigational lessons learned by seasoned mariners who share their personal insights and experiences in clear, relevant, and readily applicable language. -- Kenneth M. Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools As a city manager [who has served] for thirty years in four different municipalities, I sometimes struggled to survive the political environment that permeated these organizations that I was to 'lead.' This book would have shortened my learning curve in identifying potential pitfalls and in developing strategies and a leadership style to better manage the politically charged environment that enveloped me. The authors provide tremendous insight into the political process that all public sector managers must confront. -- Martin Lomeli, served as a city manager for the cities of La Verne, Irwindale, La Puente, and Upland for over thirty years

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