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Embrace—don’t avoid—office politics. Go out of your way to help co-workers, and they might do the
same in return. This quid pro quo
arrangement can move your career forward faster than just hard work and
Ask for feedback. If you’re
concerned about your job performance, ask a trusted colleague for feedback. Ask
questions such as “What did I do in that meeting that helped me or hindered me
from achieving my goals?” or “How could I have communicated more effectively?”
Be your own advocate. Whether you’re
asking for a promotion or introducing a new program, rehearse your case before
the final presentation. Be direct, and accompany each request with two or three
legitimate reasons it should be approved.
Don’t take workplace conflicts personally. If you’re taken to task because of a mistake at work (real or
perceived), don’t take it personally. And don’t allow negativity and criticism
to prompt you to retreat from your goals.
Build solid professional relationships. People make professional decisions based on relationships and
not necessarily on skill, talent or dedication. Build and maintain the ties
that can make or break your career.
Study the rules of the game. Know what the
spoken and unspoken rules are at your workplace. For instance, is it taboo not
to answer e-mails on a weekend? Can budgets be stretched, or must they be
strictly adhered to? The more you know about which rules can be bent or broken,
the more successful you’ll be at furthering your agenda.
Speak up when someone tries to make their agenda your agenda. Learn how to say no unapologetically and to recognize and
deflect inappropriate delegation. Practice saying, “I’d love to help you out
with this, but I’m just swamped.” Then stop talking.
Ask for introductions. Do you want to
meet a potential or current client or the president of the board? Speak up! Get
comfortable asking for referrals, phone numbers and introductions.
Don’t be swayed by emotions (yours or other people’s). If you’re negotiating with difficult co-workers or dealing with
workplace conflict, don’t let emotions get the better of you. To succeed at
work, let go of your need to be liked and your fear of confrontation.
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