The Candidates

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Contents
1. Do you have what it takes?
2. Tips and suggestions
[Print version of the entire article]

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The CandidateIt’s the candidate, stupid!
People who strive for public office should be aware of what awaits them there and what they should expect from the job. If you want to be a candidate, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this candidature?
  • What is my situation?
  • What skills do I have that may be useful for job?
  • Will I enjoy working with people?
  • Do I have enough energy and can I motivate myself?
  • Is this the right time for a candidature?
  • Do I have the personal qualifications to convince people?
  • And so on…

Basic requirements for candidates

– Emotional Competence

  • A basic requirement is to show respect to people, irrespective of their political orientation. It is necessary to attack opponents to show their substantive shortcomings, if it is appropriate to your own strategy. But this never should lead to personal, private attacks.
  • Candidates should be empathetic and listen to people, to the needs they articulate. It is more important to learn from their perspective, than from expensive surveys. Not for nothing is a politician – i.e. a ‘man or woman of the people’ – more popular than an introvert.
  • Someone who can reflect on the activities he or she undertakes could have what it takes to make a good politician. Employees must also be allowed to express themselves and question you critically; they are not there simply to carry out the decisions their superiors make.

– Professional competence

  • Expert knowledge: You must know the legislative process, and the department you are responsible for.
  • Communication: In the multimedia-centred world of press, radio, television and internet, you must be familiar with the communication rules to be competitive.
  • Efficiency: Be aware that you have a lot of issues to work on, a lot of problems to solve. You will therefore need plenty of energy and to be able to resolve the problems efficiently. Within a well organised structure, you will have the possibility to ‘sell’ your successes.
  • Charisma: Some people have it – some don’t. Some say that charisma cannot be learned. But there are a few things you can do to be seen as a charismatic person. Try to inspire people. If you love your work, if you are particularly enthusiastic on a certain topic, if you try as hard as you can to find a solution – people will feel all of these things. Your eyes shine brightly when you talk? Then you know how to be charming…
  • Credibility: Be honest to people, try to be authentic. That is the best way to be viewed as a politician the people can put their trust in.
  • Vision: Voters and potential voters want to know your programme and your positions. Don’t change your mind every day, don’t offer people a constantly different vision of what you want to work on.
  • Responsibility: Take your responsibility seriously. Make promises and work hard to carry them out. Take action!
  • Development: Be self-critical and work on your own development. This is a crucial aspect of leadership! 
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