Have you ever come across a drunk picture of your boss on Facebook? There they are: sweaty, semi-conscious and grinning like a spoilt Labrador – utterly pathetic. That isn’t the work persona in action, in fact you’ve never even seen them smile before. Since when were they capable of fun?
The truth is, your boss’s work persona is probably a lot different to the way they are on the outside, and the fact that they operate so successfully shows how they use it to their advantage. They are living proof that developing your modus operandi could be the difference between career success and stagnation.
Words: Chris Sparham
1. Technical ability is not enough
You’ll notice that many positions of power are occupied by what you perceive as lazy, good-for-nothing dimwits. But chances are, they are savvier than what you give them credit for – because they know how to hustle. They have successfully convinced people that they are worthy of elevated status, something which no doubt entailed some cunning political skill.
According to Oliver James in his book ‘Office Politics’, that while being clever certainly helps in terms of career progression, studies prove that “office political skill is much more important”. The same goes for hard work; you can graft until your fingers bleed, but that still doesn’t guarantee you will advance any further.
2. Every day is a sales pitch
Reputation plays a huge part in the trajectory of your career, and you will never climb the ladder unless you adapt to the personalities of those around you – including the boss. This will require your best acting skills, and while that might sound a little devious, selling yourself does not mean selling your soul.
Start by asking yourself, “who am I talking to?”, then make the effort to take an interest in their lives. If you don’t take the initiative, you risk being thwarted by someone who has a bolder work persona and more sociable.
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3. Some are more equal than others
Your ability to adapt to different personalities relies heavily on how well you can read people. Some colleagues have a natural flair when it comes to schmoozing, and because of this they often achieve ‘Darling of the Office’ status. Next comes their promotion, and envy ensues.
It is likely that this type of person displays ‘triadic’ behaviour – a deadly combination of Psychopathy, Machiavellianism and Narcissism. Being able to identify these traits will help you to develop ways of dealing with them, something which is covered in ‘Office Politics’ – an essential read if you wish to advance.