Make sure that you always deliver but dont under-promise so much that it looks like youre over-protecting your flanks.
Image management is the objective: you want the power players to think you deliver, get it done, can be trusted to consistently come through.
This one is really tricky but incredibly important. The skill here is to make everyone think youre leading when in fact youre leading at cross purposes.
Your project team thinks youre in their corner, leading them to victory. But the managers understand that your team is far from perfect and if it wasnt for you they might very well fail. You get the idea.
So thats the short list of evil soft skills. But just so you dont think I only value evil soft skills, there are good soft skills project/program management, negotiations, communications and, of course, good hard skills specific technology skills that are almost as important as the evil ones.
But when push comes to shove in corporate America, its better to be evil than good.
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Steve Andriole is the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business at Villanova University where he conducts applied research in business technology convergence. He is also the co-founder of The Acentio Group, a new economy consortium that focuses on optimizing investments in information technology, executive education, Web 2.0, technology audits and pilot applications. He is formerly the Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President for Technology Strategy at CIGNA Corporation. His career began at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency where he was the Director of Cybernetics Technology. He can be reached at email@example.com.