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Accept newcomers, warts and all

Befriend the latest hotshot—even if it hurts

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Politics,Workplace Communication

Despite mounting turnover at your company, you stay put. But you’re starting to reconsider your loyalty as arrogant newcomers get special treatment and higher pay.

In this tight labor market, new hires are often courted so much that they show up on their first day acting like gods. They may boss you around and disregard your requests, even if you’re an equal.

Here’s how to transform showboating newcomers into allies:

Demystify office politics. Rather than stew in resentment as a new hire curries favor, make this person your friend. Offer tips on the most efficient ways to get things done and how to work well with key executives.

Example: Tell a new supervisor which VP likes to get follow-up memos, which one frowns upon cursing and the best time to nail down a commitment from the CEO.

Tap expertise. Even if you don’t like a newcomer’s personality, pick his brain. Discover any special skills or experience that can help you do your job better. Ask what foreign languages he speaks, what computer programs he’s used and what management or technical courses he’s taken.

Armed with this information, you can make him your in-house expert—a resource who can help you develop your skills and do favors for you.

Keep a secret. Accepting a newcomer becomes easier when you build trust early on. The best way to do that: exchange secrets. Share a harmless but intriguing confession (such as an anecdote from your past job). Make sure that even if your secret isn’t kept, you won’t care. Then gently prod the newcomer to reciprocate by telling you something confidential. This can strengthen your relationship and lead to a stronger alliance.

Get advice. If the newcomer brags about his pay, shove aside your jealousy to ask follow-up questions. Extract insights into how you can piggyback on his success.

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