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I have been in leadership positions since I was a kid - at various school societies (two of which I founded and still exist after I left) and later at university, as well as at non-profit organizations that had appointed me, as well as a small business. I think I am good at coordinating and motivating people and I enjoy not only managing but also the topic/subject of management.

I also climbed the first step on the corporate ladder shortly after joining my current company in a first level manager role (and simultaneously hold director position at a small non-profit organization).

However, I feel like this is not enough: either I am not tapping my full potential, or am not yet skilled at managing politically. I guess that in my smaller organizations I had more freedom to make my own call on what was best to improve the team and organization, whereas now I am constrained by an intricate network of stakeholders, personalities and conflicting interests above me.

As I want to become a senior manager, I realize I have to improve my political skills beyond merely coordinating and motivating teams. I think I need to learn how to influence those above me.

What are some useful ways to learn this outside of work? Are there some specific types of organizations where I could learn by volunteering? Free time activities? Or courses? How can I get some good preparations for this?

P.S.: I should add that I am, by personality, a bit intimidated by those hierarchically above me, mainly out of fear for saying something wrong. So, I think while in my volunteering roles and startups I took all risks, I am much much more careful in the corporate environment!

closed as off-topic by Jim G., gnat, Jan Doggen, Chris E, Garrison Neely Dec 10 '14 at 15:58

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  • "Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. For more information, click here." – Jim G., gnat, Jan Doggen, Chris E, Garrison Neely
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  • That last PS suggests that you would benefit from doing a course where your 'intimidation' is challenged. Obviously there's some 'old' idea in your head (about 'higher ups') that stops you from being completely free with them. – Jan Doggen Dec 10 '14 at 9:42