I am as naieve as you can get. I take people at their word and assume everyone has the best intentions and try to do what’s best for the company . However a coworker recently filled me in on the jockeying that’s going on and how I am being used as a sort of pawn to my detriment. How do I get better at this ?
TOP 195 Comments
- T-Mobile just addDon't get into it. The guy telling you could be the one detrimental. Usually the ones who say they're telling you as a "friend" are the most dangerous ones. Have a job ready when you feel the water is coming up. You'll learn with time through observation on what's going on.
- Oath BobBuilderI'm far from an expert on this but here's my take. Treat everyone with respect at a minimum and aim for friendship -it's really a win win exchange if you can trust your coworkers and vice versa. If they choose not to reciprocate, they'll eventually dig themselves a hole.
Beyond that I think you have to learn how to convince people to help you when you need it. This can be things like helping them proactively so they reciprocate, or doing as much as you can yourself and showing you made an honest effort but need help with xyz, convincing them of the need, or sometimes roping in the right people.
Finally, regarding you mentioning you're being used as a pawn- assess the situation. If you mean you're stuck with a lot of menial tasks, discuss with your manager. If you're willing to take on tasks that other people don't want to do but with support from leadership, that's actually a good thing for your career (at least at lower levels). If they're claiming credit for your efforts and are higher ranked, sometimes they will help you out in the future. If you're stuck with things that are menial and unimportant, that's when I would say you need to actually stand up for yourself.
Honestly I think when people refer to politics it's really quite synonymous with career growth and not this complicated social dance. It really comes down to can you pick up skills to be effective in a bureaucratic environment? Aka can you do your job effectively?
- Suck up to the stakeholders who control your destiny and befriend (especially outside the workplace) the high performers in your organization.
In my experience, office politics are more about being perceived as a high performer by those above you than anything else.
- I mean, maybe if you don't have any integrity. If you have to "suck up" to someone in order for it to advance your career, they are probably a fairly ineffective leader. They make decisions based on how well individuals make them look vs. how to deliver the best business results for the company. This perpetuates and incentivizes the toxic culture of people ONLY being in it for themselves when it's well documented that you need teamwork to build great things. My career has probably moved slower because I refuse to do this, but my integrity is important to me.
- @SLmG30 I disagree that sucking up necessarily has anything to do with a lack of integrity. Asking for more responsibility, if there are additional tasks you can help with, suggesting organizational or process improvements, etc can all be "sucking up" but are in no way bad things.
- I have a fairly narrow definition of sucking up. Agreeing with everything your manager says, kissing ass, unnecessary flattery, and other such bullshit. I also put CONSISTENTLY working extra hours. Obviously everyone needs to put in a late night or two, but if you're doing it more than twice a week, you're probably contributing to a problem.
- Salesforce SadforceIs it jockeying for projects, titles, adoption, getting you to do all work without any of the credit? You might want to explain what people are striving for, then others can tell you what to do.
Very generally speaking, at the end of the day honesty wins all wars. My biggest advice is to document who is doing what and when, then when someone gives you trouble, you show them facts. I always get people off my back by saying stuff like, as a shareholder, xyz is detrimental, spend your time doing abc instead.
- Gigamon / Eng chitchormoreDont do it. Lets make world better place one person at a time. Incompetent people do politics.
- Amazon OcmecmkWhat do you want your life to amount to in the end ?
If u become good at scheming and manipulating, you will be given more of it. Do you really want it?
I recently tried my hand at it; became decent and was given more of it ... eventually I said I am not interested in this.
Also, people are usually smart to smell this a mile away ... nothing worthwhile or innovative ever got done this way ... only encourages more mediocrity.
My advice is ... learn to detect it, protect yourself, deflect it but don’t get into the mid ... life is too short
Luckily we are in an industry with good salaries and enough startups that you can keep moving around ...
- Fuck politics, practice humility and authenticity instead and you will always come out ontop. Maybe not in the classical sense, however you will have peace of mind.
- Samsung beyondsWhy the heck people want to "get better at office politics ". Life is short to deal with this bullshit. Just get out of that place.
- It's about understanding people's motivations and perceptions. You will not be able to get it until you worked in the organization for some time and went to many meetings. It almost never what it seems.
I remember working on one project in one of my previous jobs. Fixing some very complex scalability problems. This project was mission critical and was massive pain for everyone for years. I brought new ideas and fixed some serious bottlenecks. Everyone told me that I'm doing God's work and it will be awesome when it will be fixed. Management told me that they are ready to remove any roadblocks.
You would think that launching it would be easy.
WRONG. I magically started getting all kinds of technical problems. Basic infrastructure started magically failing and people in charge of it were no where to be found. People, who promised me help with the integration somehow forgot all about it and got extremely "busy".
Morons built their career around managing this broken mess. I was sabotaged by the same people, who offered me help and support.
- Do not strike before you are really sure the blow will crush your enemies’ worthless spines.
- Google / Eng rRPD43The 48 Laws of Power https://www.amazon.com/dp/0140280197/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_csTLCb1P3BK0V
- Microsoft tuip33If your manager does not have your back, you need to change. Otherwise, be nice to people, help them out, and make sure you get your stuff done. Aim to exceed expectations, and you will be recognized.
However, this all depends on your manager not being a credit hog or an ahole.
- Homeaway ppMg64Because not all wars are winnable. Sometimes not taking action is the best course of action.
I call it strategic retreat. Why fight when all you have on your side is a point-of-view. Usually if things calm down on their own, no ones feelings get hurt and it’s business as usual. If the other person truly decides to escalate, it’s then you fight. Cause then it’s a fight for survival. If you are seen as someone who can be easily rolled over, people will walk all over you.
You may get some negative feedback during reviews, and that’s why it’s important that your manager provides air cover. In the end, s/he needs to defend you during perf review. Most managers have the discretion to omit or disregard a feedback. But they can’t do that if it’s consistently negative. That’s the reason you need to pick and choose battles. Fight the ones that are truly important and let the other guy/gal win the ones where only your pride is hurt and not much else