Posts Tagged 'Office Politics'

The Real VIP

Every organization has a very important person that you should find favor with – can you guess who it is?  Some might say the CEO, others might think the HR Director.  Another good guess is your immediate supervisor or department head.  Those are all good answers and of course it is important that you impress all of them with your talents and style.  In my opinion, however, the most important person you should have on your side is the Executive Assistant – sometimes referred to as the Executive Secretary.

You will find that Executive Assistants are typically over worked, over stressed and under paid.  They can sometimes be grumpy and short.  Still it is important to treat them with the utmost respect.  If you are like me – this isn’t a terribly difficult task.  I try to treat everyone from the CEO to the cleaning crew with the same level of respect and dignity.  It’s not an act for me because I truly believe that every organization is a team of people who without each other would not be successful.  If you view the workplace in this way it is easy to gain the respect of everyone  from the cleaning crew to the CEO – including the all important Executive Assistant.

If you work 2nd or 3rd shift, your mission to find favor with this VIP is not only more difficult but also more important.  The difficult part comes from not having the time every day to foster a good relationship with the Executive staff.  But if you play your cards right you can turn your disadvantage into an advantage.  As a 2nd or 3rd shift employee, you will see these people at the very beginning or very end of their workday.  A smile and pleasant exchange of conversation during those prime times can go a long way.  Plus, your limited exposure reduces your chances of getting too personal or saying something inappropriate.  Just be sure that every encounter is a good one and when they see your smiling face at 4pm they will unconsciously associate you with the fact they they are about to go home!

The reason your shift makes this connection more important is because you will have limited times when you will be able to speak with an executive if needed.  You will only have perhaps an hour at the beginning or the end of the day to have a meeting.  That’s when it’s important that the person with the schedule will gladly move some appointments to get your meeting set at those critical times.  Executives are typically very busy with tight schedules.  If you fall on the bad side of an E.A. – you can bet you will have a more difficult time scheduling that meeting.

So always remember – those people sitting just outside the big office might be more important than those sitting inside the office.  Be genuine, be nice, and be scheduled.

Office Politics

I still have a headache from the recent election and now it’s full steam ahead to 2012.  If you work in a corporate environment , you not only have to worry about political office – but also office politics.  In every work environment you will find a constant struggle with those trying to get noticed, those that are lazy who somehow still get noticed and those that are just total kiss-ups.  Office politics are real – so what is the best way to deal with it?

First – the best way is to work 2nd or 3rd shift!  Office politics still exist on those shifts but it is much diminished.  You deal with fewer people and typically the “Big Guys” are not working those hours.  But you will still have to deal with your co-workers so my best word of advice – and I’ve said it before – is to always do the best job you can do!  Here are some other tips I recommend.

  • Always take the high road.  Politics can be nasty depending on who you are dealing with.  But I have always found that when you risk your character against someone who is ruthless, you will lose twice.   If you step on someone on the way up, they won’t try to catch you on the way down.  Further, they may get promoted to another position in the future where working with them would be very uncomfortable
  • Stand by your commitment, confidence, and achievements and you will likely get farther in the long run.
  • The above 2 suggestions are not meant to imply that you should sit back and let someone step on you on their way up.  Always be conscious of what your co-workers are up to.  If you have a ruthless person working with you – you may need to be pro-active to prevent them from taking advantage of you.
  • Always be aware that a ruthless person may be posing as a friend.  They may get close to you and talk in confidence to get information on your plans.  It’s OK to have friends in the office, but be careful what you share with them.  If you plan to talk to the boss about a big idea you have, you might consider keeping that information private.
  • If you do get that big assignment or promotion, It is OK to be happy about it but try not to gloat – especially with someone who may have been competing with you.  Be sincere and let people know that you hope they do well the next time.  Remember, you may be working with them on another project in the future.

So the short version is watch out for the bad guy – and don’t be the bad guy.  If you keep that attitude you should be able to handle most office politics situations while still looking like a great employee.