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Outmaneuver the office cads 

 

Office Types

  Paranoid Personality
1. suspicious of others
2. questioning of loyalty and trustworthiness
3. unwilling to share information
4. mind-reading / misreading cues
5. bears grudges
  Narcissistic Personality
1. sense of self-importance
2. preoccupied with fantasies of success or power
3. takes advantage of others to achieve oneís ends
4. lacks empathy
5. shows arrogant behaviors or attitudes
  The right-hand Man / Woman Personality
1. grandiose feeling of self
2. "You canít do without me" attitude
3. preoccupied with power and privileges
  Back-Stabbing Personality
1. feels jealous of othersí achievement
2. often looking out for self-interest
3. feels good when others fall
4. twister tongue
5. bears grudges
  The Rank Pulling Personality
1. "I know more than you do" attitude
2. wants respect and coerces others to do so
3. feels that others cannot do without him/her
4. feels boss will always side him/her
  "I Donít Care How You Do It" Personality
1. lack of empathy
2. lack of integrity and values
3. always giving deadlines
4. tends to be abrasive in language
5. feel that his task takes precedence over others

ew age companies pride themselves for upturning traditional hierarchies with fancy job titles, fat pay perks, freedom to call the boss by his first name and free play of ideas. The flat organisational field guarantees all hard workers a fair start, but to get ahead hard work must be propelled by the tricks of organisational politics. And the faster employees understand the power centres at work and learn to be deft at office politics, the greater the gains. Most employees abuse the power of office politics by viewing it as a dirty, manipulative game or by misinterpreting it to flatter, backbite, gossip and create hindrances in other's work. Every office, as an outcome, has a set of employees who indulge in office politics in a crude, obvious fashion. They think they have been hired with the specific purpose of keeping tabs on everyone, interfering and creating hindrances in other's work. While doing so, they sadly forget to run the race and stagnate. Sophisticated players, however, marshal the tools of office politics discretely to align organisational goals with individual ambitions. Assure Consulting.com provides employees the necessary ammunition to win at the not so clean game of office politics.

Size the competition: Marilyn Moats Kennedy in her bestseller: Office Politics: Seizing Power, Wielding Clout recommends that new employees prepare a rough organisation chart. In this rough organization chart, colour the people blue who are helpful, will extend support in a meeting when the going is tough, will back your ideas because they make sense and are beneficial to the organisation and praise your undertakings and your successes.

Colour the people green who are not sure about you in the organisation. They don't know you well and are hesitant to say anything, because, for the most part, they are neutral toward you. Try to cultivate a relationship with them by projecting a professional, supportive and reliable image.

Colour the people red, who are against you in an organisation. They are the malevolent kind who will not refrain from harming you through e-mail or memos or by spreading gossip and will make every effort to make you look in the wrong. In short, they do not want you to succeed in the organisation.

Kennedy's advice to employees is to focus on building unassailable relationships with the blues and maintaining constant contact with the greens. A rough sizing up of competition in terms of blue red and green will tell you exactly where you stand versus each colleague. A large number of peers may not fall in any of these neat categories. People wear different hats at different times depending on where they are. Try to understand the dominant character traits and work your way accordingly. 

Understand power centres: In any organisation, power is dispersed among various cliques and groups. Individuals belonging to these groups have vested interest to protect and can plot subtly to stop people from progressing. Understanding the bedrock of their existence will help you maneuver your way through both fluid and sticky times.

Make a list of people to whom you and your peers are accountable and observe the interpersonal relationship between your peers and the boss and between peers. Watch out for the boss' favorites or pets. Don't incur their wrath. "It can be annoying to new workers that these people benefit from the boss' favour. But you need to get along with these people. You have to play the game because a pet in your corner can boost your career," recommends Julie Campbell, assistant professor of business at Adams State College in Alamosa.

A golden rule is to check the political topography of the office for the first six months before making friends on the job. See where the power rests, how are the power bases built. Assess how power is controlled, organised and distributed among various cliques. Do not trust anyone till you have assessed and understood these equations. One wrong move in an office dominated by cliques and groups can have an adverse long-term impact on your future prospects.

Guise your motives: Sunita Rao, an HR manager, never let out her abiding belief in feminism when she joined her new firm. She sensed that the company would be immediately hostile. Four years later not only was the company hiring more women but was also instituting specially designed policies for women employees.

Sunita says: "At the time I joined, I would have been labeled a radical and would have to plough through stiff resistance. It was important to give a sense that I respected the status quo. Slowly, I began to suggest innocuous sounding changes and very few would realise its real implications till the change had been affected."

They are obvious lessons to be learnt from the story. Subversion from within always works better than open defiance. Obvious and pushy go-getters evoke negative feelings among peers and become vulnerable to exploitation from employees. Never be transparent in an organisation, unless the transparency itself is a guise to win trust and confidence of co-workers. 

Oil the gossip mills: The grapevine is a living source of important information and can be useful for any working professional. Don't be a gossipmonger as it reveals immediately who's on your hate and love lists and you seriously compromise on respect and dignity in the office. But it does not help to stay in the dark and being the last one to know what's happening.

Be polite and friendly to the grist machines to stay attuned to the happenings in the company. Pay specific attention to rumours. However baseless and wild do not be dismissive, as all office rumours have some grounding in reality.

In the recent dotcom carnage, a number of employees could jump off the sinking ship in time by realising that the tide was not in their favour. Many in the same office did not realise that the company would be history in a few months' time.

Another important phpect of feeding oil to the gristmills is the ability to filter information. Do not merely listen to what's being said, ask why it is being said. The essence of politics is to analyse what's in it for the other person. In journalistic school, all students are taught to ask one fundamental question: "Why is this information being given to me?" Whose interest will it serve if I am privy it? You need to ask the question everytime somebody lets you on some information. The question itself will set your mind ticking in the right direction and help you act accordingly. 

Only the Paranoid Survive: One of George W Bush's favourite dictum is: "Do not assume anything." At the office do not bank on anyone to back you up. New age companies are market driven and everyone including the CEO is dispensable. Hence, the minute you begin to feel cozy or complacent, you'll find somebody plotting to sweep the rug under your feet. The only way to prevent this is to stay on one's toes and avoid taking any person or situation for granted.

Cultivate mentors: Establish a mentor-student relationship with important people. Find out the interests of people senior to you. Maybe the two of you like some form of music or certain kind of science fiction. Approach your prospective mentor gently gradually, without appearing pushy or desperate: "I thought you would be interested in this."

In tough situations, you'll find help being extended subtly from unexpected quarters.

For your safety, do not disclose the relationship to your immediate boss as he may resent your mentor or begin to feel slighted. 

Assure' Final Word: In today's corporate environment politicking is an essential soft skill. Do it in a professional way. Apply the same ethics and hard work to that part of your job and see yourself emerge a winner.
 

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