Simple Tip for Managing Office Politics
In the last couple of weeks, I have coached a few people who lost to “office politics”. However these cases stand out because a few basic tips could have helped them avoid losing their jobs.
Another name for office politics is personalities. There are personalities in every company and everyone has to be aware of the wants, desires and goals of the key influencers and decision makers that affect your career. In the most glaring case I handled, a woman joined a company and was very excited about the opportunities there. In her first week, a fellow saw her at the copier and asked her if she would make copies for him. She turned around and said “Why, can’t you make your own copies?”
Now the fellow wasn’t exactly a vice president or a decision maker, but he had been there for over 5 years and was well liked. So he started spreading the word that she was a “bit—“. Whenever anyone asked about the new gal, they then got that description.
To top it off, our woman who had been described by the company president as a real “go-getter” was perceived as a threat by another woman who had been there 15 years and was normally the President’s pet. Bottomline, after 1 week, the President let her go because he felt it “wasn’t a good fit”.
Now I have run into mean, nasty, purposely deceptive politics. This was not that. This was nothing more then the water cooler effect at work. So what should the client have done?
Simple: follow this rule. Your first month on the job, your primary task is to get people to like you. It’s not to impress them with your talent (although that’s good too), but rather to get people to want to collaborate and associate with you. It’s time to build relationships that will help you on the job. My advice is to build relationships with EVERYONE, not just the “important people”. What do you think would have happened if the word had been spread that “She’s really nice and smart”! Remember this tip on your next job and your transition into the firm will be that much easier.