Discussion: Sociopolitical Skills
Man speaking into a microphone at an international conference.
“U.S. Africa Command C4ISR Senior Leaders
Conference, Vicenza, Italy, February 2011”
by US Army Africa is licensed under CC BY 2.0
In this Discussion, you should respond with substantial detail to this topic early in the first week of the module. This will be your “initial post.” For your initial post also bring in information from at least two background sources. You are also encouraged (but not required) to include a source or two from your own research to help inform your classmates. Cite the sources.
The initial post should be about 250 words.
Then, early in the second week of the module, respond to the posts of at least two of your classmates. Your responses should have depth of critical thought and not simply agree or disagree. For each response post also bring in information from at least one background source or your own research to help inform your classmates. Cite the source.
Each response post should be about 175 words.
Discussion posts will be assessed according to the following criteria found on the discussion rubric:
Quality of initial posting (first post): Initial posting reveals a clear understanding of all aspects of the treated discussion question; uses factual and relevant information; and demonstrates full development of concepts.
Quality of responses to classmates: Responds to the required number of students and to the professor, if appropriate. Demonstrates analysis of others’ posts; extends meaningful discussions by building on previous peer posts; and offers alternative perspectives.
Reference to supporting readings/information literacy: Refers to and properly cites either course and/or outside sources in posts, as required.
Critical thinking: Demonstrates mastery conceptualizing the problem; viewpoints and assumptions of experts are analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated; and conclusions are logically presented with appropriate rationale.
Timeliness: Initial post occurs in a timely manner (1-3 days into module) allowing ample time for classmates to respond and engage. Posting early allows for more opportunities for leading the discussions, making substantial contributions, and engaging in meaningful and mutual discussions with others. It also is the best chance for the highest grade in the discussion.
Background for Discussion 4:
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.
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?
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?
Remember, after you submit your answer to the Discussion Question itself, you also need to respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.