Thursday, June 9, 2011

Office Politics - I'll Outshine at Work & that too without YOU!!

Dear Office-Politics,

I’ve worked hard to build a solid reputation as a good performer. I’ve had rave reviews from most of my managers.
Four years ago I was asked to learn a segment of the business from top to bottom, front to back. It is complex and high pressure, but I did it and used to be considered a valuable resource.
Then I got a series of new bosses.  Sure enough the team was no longer a team but my personal stock never dwindled. As a matter of fact these days most of the people I see don't respect each other and undervalue each other's contributions. I think some are so blinded by their own brightness that they can’t see other’s contributions.
I have worked with all sorts of people and have been a people's person, but I would definitely remember a few for all the lessons they have given me for my professional life. In the past I helped people on a couple of projects who never acknowledged my contributions, even though they were critical to the success of the projects.  I've seen people who have been insecure and in front of my colleagues and customers were condescending and openly rude to me, although I didn’t take it personally because that was their general demeanor to everyone. I have been forced to polish their apple with my experience in the name of team work. I’ve seen no team work from them. The job had grown, and having more people perform the job is merited, however I worked hard, and they got the glory.
I could have bowed to the powerful trio of adversaries and could have been the X, Y and Z of the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” equation but I decided that I would never in my life romance a whore(Office politics). 

Yours lovingly, 

Vasu Gautam

Lessons learnt from the harmless flirtatious encounters with Office politics:

Positive attitude at work is something bosses look for in every employee. It is these very qualities that makes some more welcomed into any team, loved by your bosses and envied by colleagues.
Are these attitudes so difficult to possess or learned?

Frankly, it is really up to the individual - whether the person wants to learn it up or not, or even if that person is ambitious.

More often than not it is because people want a short cut to success, are insincere in their pursuit for better positions that they fall flat on their faces.

Assuming you are of the right thinking, you are sincere and willing to work hard, what then are some of the common expectations from bosses? What will make them take notice, perhaps even consider you for a promotion?
Remember, out there – there are full of people who will only do enough, too lazy or expect things to be delivered to them. If you have the right frame of mind, here are some tips you can use in your daily routine.

Start romancing with the work 

This means getting involved. No matter what is your rank, always be prepared to get your hands dirty. That means really doing the work.
Roll up your sleeves when you see a crisis looming, colleagues scrambling for a solution, managers in desperate need of assistance. These are perfect time to let your skills and knowledge shine.
Do not view your colleagues as competitors as that will mar your decision making at work. View them as team mates and when something happens to the team it hurts you too.

Dare to have an opinion

Learn to have a view on things and voice it when the time is right and appropriate. You are not just employed to do the work; you are also employed to propose better solutions to make things better.
Form opinions and generate ideas that can help make the company better. Do not think you are low ranking hence your opinion won’t matter. That is not true. Also, learning to have an opinion and generating ides when you are young at work will also prepare you for higher rank work. That is a positive attitude at work to have that everybody is bound to like.

Learn to Co-operate

It means more than just working with others in a seamless manner. It also means being able to learn to share credit when credit is given to the team. Very often people like to hog the limelight and are unwilling to cooperate since the success may need to be shared. But think about the overall effect of your actions on the team. Bosses will realize that you can contribute but are unwilling to cooperate as you know you may have to share credit.  Your subordinates and peers will disrespect you for not sharing the due credit. This sort of attitude will hold you back. You learn more and achieve more when you cooperate.

You gotta be trendy enough!! 

You may think this is funny. Why would you need to keep up with news on business, technology and trends especially when you are new? This positive attitude at work is not just relevant to the newbie but to managers too. In this day and age, bosses expect everyone to know what is happening in the world around them. A flood in Pakistan may affect the sale of your company’s product; a growing trend in China may mean new market for your company. All these are basics of the working world. The more you stay informed the better you can contribute.

Be the driving force of your own Career

You want to move up the corporate ladder? Be the driver of your own growth. There is only so much your company and your boss can do for you. When your boss sees that you take the initiative to grow yourself through exposing yourself to new ideas and people or even reading, you would have made a positive impression. Get feedback from supervisors and colleagues and see how you can improve. Take on the challenges that will spur your growth even if it scares you.

Positive attitude at work is not difficult to adopt. It really depends on you.  Remember, The Office Politics is a fickle mistress, my friend. You never know when she'll turn on you.

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