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Use 3 R’s for political success at work

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Being successful at work and being politically intelligent require the three R’s: results, reputation and relationships, according to Marie McIntyre, author of our new e-letter Your Office Coach, www.nibmexec.com.

1. Results. Ask yourself: How do I add value to my company? Your “value” isn’t necessarily the same as the task list that you check off every day.

Example: Let’s say you’re a receptionist, McIntyre says. Sure, you add value as the face of the company by creating a positive atmosphere. But you also may add value by talking with customers and passing along useful information to the sales team.

“So when you think about your value, think about how you could increase the company’s return on investment for what they’re paying you.”

To help determine your value, ask yourself: Do I understand management’s goals? Do I understand how I fit in with those goals? Do I understand what skills I bring?

2. Reputation. “If I were to ask key people in your workplace about you—and by that, I mean the people who can help you achieve your goals—what words would they use to describe you?” McIntyre asks. “Hopefully they’d say things like dependable, pleasant, bright and knowledgeable.

“Think about how you’d be described, because your reputation does precede you. What people hear about you influences what they think about you.”

This is particularly true for your boss’s boss. He or she forms opinions based on a small amount of interaction with you and a lot of word-of-mouth from other people.

3. Relationship. If you do wonderful work, but nobody knows you and you don’t know many people, not a lot is going to happen for you, McIntyre says. So be sure you’re developing relationships.

“You might even think about rating your relationships,” McIntyre suggests. In one of her workshops, she asks attendees to draw a diagram of the power structure in their offices, and then rate their relationships with each person on a 1-5 scale. Then they develop plans for improving the ones that need improving.

“Positive relationships build political capital,” McIntyre says.

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