Brace yourself. At Inner.U, we always think it’s YOU. Being one of the types of hard workers from the list above is stopping you from getting promoted. That’s because knowing how to get promoted at work is about more than being great at your job. Don’t worry. You can fix you, and I’m going to show you how.
If You Want Change, Change Something
This shouldn’t be a surprise to you but the people who are getting promoted at work are actually the ones who are good at politics. Did you just roll your eyes? And did you think that what I really said was “the ones who are kissing ass?” I’m not saying that. The last thing I’d ever tell you to do was lie, manipulate and sell out. Possibly for you (and many), “politics” and “politicking” means something dishonest and fake. No. Politics is just another word for interaction – people being together and dealing with each other. It’s an important part of how to get promoted at work, and you need to use it.
Trust me, you are already politicking right now, you just aren’t aware of it. People think they don’t play politics, but there’s no such thing as no politics. We’re always politicking, and everyone has their own brand. Your brand might be that you don’t do politics which, by the way, is actually a popular brand. That’s the first thing you need to face – politicking is everywhere, whether you like it or not. And with politics, you are either good at it or bad at it. Usually, the people who are bad at it think they’re not doing it or they don’t need it, and they are mad at the people who do it well.
Are you reading this with your arms crossed, thinking, I hate politics! I’m a good worker. Isn’t that enough? Why do I have to deal with these people? Honestly, I don’t even like most of them. The judging, rolling your eyes, and avoiding is actually your version of politics. It’s a passive strategy, but it is a strategy. Sadly, your current passive political strategy is getting you exactly what you have right now: no promotion.
Politics is not a four-letter word. If you are serious about getting promoted, you have to stop thinking it’s a bad thing. Politics are just human dynamics and they can help set you on the path to a promotion and make your workplace more engaging. Really – have fun politicking. Start making it about relationships and building your own brand of politics. Create a game plan for yourself on how you are going to be in the office. Care about everyone. Make everyone around you look good, not just yourself. Be coachable, easy to work with, and someone people trust. And most importantly, start developing deeper relationships with people at work – those above you, below you, and your colleagues.
Your Strategy: Developing Deeper Relationships
1) Make a list of the people whom you should be in relationship with and who can help you forward your dreams.
2) Make a promise that every week you are going to have breakfast or lunch with two new people, one inside your company, and one outside. Knowing people outside of your organization is important, because if something does end up changing with your position, it’s that much easier to get a new job if you already have great relationships with people in other companies.
3) Tell someone about your new weekly promises, whether your spouse or your best friend, who will, without fail, hold you accountable and ask you, for example, how breakfast with your CEO went.
4) Pay it forward and help someone below you. There’s nothing better than mentoring and caring about someone who, one day, maybe 10 years from now, will become someone you’d really want to know and could end up helping you.
5) Have fun. Building your network is healthy and enjoyable politics.