Political management is a field that encompasses many types of jobs and responsibilities, and there are certain skills germane to most of them. Politics is a discipline that is constantly in a state of change, as it strongly depends on current events, a changing geopolitical climate and the actions and events taking place in governments around the world. To adeptly navigate your way through the ins and outs of politics, not only must you start with a high-quality education, but you must also develop skills that enable you to think and act in ways that make for success on a daily basis.
It might sound simple, but the importance of awareness cannot be overstated. Political candidates need to be aware of the issues that are important to voters, what their opponents are doing and saying and which demographics are underrepresented and available for persuasion.
These areas of awareness are not relegated to political candidates exclusively. Whether you’re a speechwriter, a campaign manager, a lobbyist, or other political operative, the same requirements apply.
The success of political campaigns often relies upon the degree to which the strategy is organized and ready to go on day one. In this presidential election cycle alone, we’ve seen candidates who are unorganized drop off the radar due to a lack of a local ground game in certain states. Because they were unable to organize a support network, these candidates had no choice but to suspend their campaigns.
As a manager, organizational skills are critical. One cannot be successful while trying to manage without a broad view of what is happening now, what needs to happen tomorrow and who the key players are that can get the job done.
Thankfully, political management in the 21st century has the benefit of technology that can make communication easier and more efficient than it once was. It’s hard to imagine running a campaign today without a cell phone and a sophisticated social media strategy.
But as the technology advances, so must our ability to use it. Inherent in this concept is the fact that political managers must have the intelligence to decide which form of communication is the best in a given situation. The difference between sending an email and tweeting instructions to campaigners can make all the difference in relaying a message most effectively.
It could be argued that critical thinking is more important in politics than in any other discipline, simply because there are so many moving parts of which to keep track. Political strategy is a large part of success in politics and is most effective when critical thinking is engaged.
Critical thinking also brings together all the other skills necessary for political management. It’s what enables us to recognize what we need to be aware of, how to best organize a group or information and in which manner communication can be most effective.
There are many jobs in the field of political management. It’s difficult to find one in which awareness, organization, communication and critical thinking are not tantamount to success. These are skills that are used throughout one’s youth, but are honed in a university setting.
Visit The George Washington University to learn what else can make you most effective in political management.