“People who go on and on about ‘fairness’ waste a lot of time,” says Marie McIntyre, author of Your Office Coach.
When there’s something you want at work—an assignment, a raise, acknowledgment—make better use of your time by asking yourself these two questions: (1) Who has the power to help or hurt my ability to accomplish those goals? And (2) how well am I managing those people?
Looking at how much leverage one has, in relation to those people, is how high-achieving people actually get things done. People who know how to recognize their own leverage, and use it effectively, are also typically good at office politics.
Here are a few ways to acquire or improve leverage:
1. Exhibit special knowledge or expertise. “People who have information are valuable to an organization,” McIntyre says.
2. Add value to the business by producing results or making a clear, tangible contribution to the organization. Example: Cut department costs by 10%.
3. Cooperate, be a team player and have a good attitude. “Being someone that most people like to work with and be around can give you a lot of leverage,” she says. 4. Show understanding in solving and addressing workplace dilemmas. You need empathy.
5. Develop your network. “The more people you know, the more leverage you have,” she says.
6. Include other people in your projects, share information and involve people, as appropriate.
7. Detach yourself. "People who can step back from their emotions and view situations objectively have leverage,” McIntyre says.
The good news, says McIntyre, is that you can use leverage in any job. And it’s a lot more effective than focusing on unfairness.