To succeed in any organization, you must understand 'office politics'. The first rule is to be visible, doing good work is not enough if you're not associated with it. You must learn to shine.
Let me tell you about Chris who's an experienced pharmaceutical Healthcare Executive. He's delivered results as a sales head early in his career and had been moved to head office in Europe in an administrative role.
Chris made everything run smoothly. However, he did it in an under-the-radar manner, so when he wanted to step up to a country manager role he was not deemed ready.
Chris had not followed the first rule of office politics:
How could Chris have gained visibility instead of just quietly making things efficient?
in a previous post, "How to Influence Your Boss", I explored how to influence upwards, but just as important is how to influence laterally.
When I teach programs on influence or influence without authority, I ask participants to create a circle of influence like this diagram:
I then ask them to put ticks or crosses, representing ability or inability to influence, against each circle. Obviously some circles will need sub-circles to represent individual key people. This is a useful exercise to map out where you need to develop or strengthen your influence.
In a modern matrix style organisation, your success will be determined not just by what you do, but by what you can influence others to do. The effective manager/leader learns to find out what is important to the people in their circle of influence and communicates to them in terms of what matters them rather than directly stating their own needs.
The "How to Influence Your Boss" post expands on finding needs and...
Research has shown that the inability to build a successful relationship with the boss is a significant reason for managers failing or not reaching their full potential.
When I approach this topic, I encounter several mindsets that lead to an inability to effectively influence, these include:
Do any of these, sound familiar?
The problem with blaming the boss is that you have created an external locus of control which is the exact opposite of self-leadership. To influence you must ask yourself, “what can I do that will make a difference?” The purpose of this blog is to provide some ideas to get you started:
Allies have open and honest conversations; they may not always agree but they will listen to what each other wants and assertively communicate what their own needs. "But my boss doesn't...