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Office Politics

There are few things as uncomfortable as dealing with difficult workers. Yet dealing with them successfully is a key to business success.

Business Management Daily is known for our sound, field-tested advice on favoritism in the workplace and other challenging office personalities and situations.

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Lee’s immediate supervisor left the organization, so now she reports to a higher-level director. In their meetings, the director seems distracted and bored, even though Lee takes extra time to prepare. “My preparation is usually met with a very brief response or a push off to another manager,” she says. “What can I do to make our meetings more engaging?”

Question: “Because of some recent accomplishments, I received a letter of recognition from the vice president of sales in our corporate office. The recognition was extremely motivating, but my name was spelled wrong on the letter. When I brought this to my immediate supervisor's attention, she said she would forward the letter to the VP and have it corrected.  That was a month ago, and I’ve heard nothing further about it. This letter would be very helpful in future job interviews, but not if it has the wrong name. Do you think I should bypass my manager, go straight to the VP and tell her she messed up and to fix it?” — Insulted

At real estate settlement firm Title Source, President and CEO Jeff Eisenshtadt doesn’t care who’s right. He cares what is right. Around the office, Eisenshtadt has posted signs containing what he calls “isms”: They’re the words of wisdom that he expects his employees to live by—and that he uses during their evaluations.

Join The HR Specialist in celebrating the first-ever “HR Professionals Week,” a five-day tribute to all that human resources pros do to make American workplaces more effective and American businesses more successful. From Monday, March 1 through Friday, March 5, we're offering a full week’s worth of free resources and activities available to all, including open-access podcasts and white papers on the critical issues shaping the HR profession.

It’s a myth that good work makes a good career—rather, good office politics makes a good career, says career columnist Penelope Trunk. Here’s are four common-sense rules to follow. They'll make people want to work with you, and boost your credibility and influence in the process.

Major problems can erupt when supervisors have to manage people they just don't get along with. Smart managers defuse that tension by focusing on tasks, projects and results—not personalities. Feel free to use this 'Memo to Managers' article to educate your supervisors. Paste the content into an e-mail, company newsletter or other communication.

Anybody can lead people who are hardworking, pleasant, thoughtful, respectful and fun. The true challenge is whether you can handle PITAs, which stands for either Pains In The Ass or Professionals Increasing Their Awareness, depending on how kind you are. Here are a few types of PITAs and how best to lead them.

About a third of the 15 employees who work for ClearedJobs.net in Falls Church, Va., bring their dogs to work. So it was pretty easy for Chief Marketing Officer Kathleen Smith to convince the group to pitch in when she decided to send care packages to U.S. military working dogs in Afghanistan.

Though work mates care about you, they pay more attention to messages that show there’s something in it for them, says Susan Mason, a principal of Vital Visions Consultants. So, for example, if you want something from your boss—whether it’s approval on a new printer purchase or a more flexible schedule—figure out what benefit she will realize. Figure out “What’s In It For Me?” from her perspective.

Local, state and federal agencies could have a key edge over corporate America during a recession: job security. In a CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,900 workers, 88% said they were interested in public-sector jobs. Their reasons:

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