Whether you work in corporate America or not, knowing how to avoid political landmines and navigate your way through workplace relationships is essential to making your career journey successful and smooth. Whether you’re in an entry-level position or a Vice President of a department, here area few quick tips to always keep in mind:
Shine Strategically – As you’re doing your best to make a name for yourself, whether its through taking on a project no one else would or creating something new that didn’t exist in your department before, you will naturally begin to stand out or shine. Be strategic in the way that you shine. This means, looking for opportune moments to talk about your abilities in a way that will help others around you be successful. It also means, keeping other’s dignity in tact (including the boss you can run circles around) when you’re demonstrating your ‘know how’ on a particular project, etc. Being strategic is about looking for the right place and time to promote your abilities in a way that doesn’t even look like self-promoting.
Protect Your Brand – Be clear about what you want your personal brand in the workplace to be. Once you’re clear on what you want it to be, establish it and protect it. You do this by being aware of scenarios, habits or people that can hi-jack your brand. Having an awareness will help you anticipate when your brand may be threatened so that you can avoid doing something that will damage it. If you feel you have already damaged your brand. Go back to the drawing board and start repairing it one person at a time.
Be Formal and Fun – Being formal in the workplace is a must. It sets the tone that you are responsible, professional and capable of holding your own in the midst of higher-level leadership. However, many corporate cultures need to know that you are a relatable person before they can trust you with more responsibility. So look for ways to show your fun side without damaging your reputation or brand. It will go a long way for those individuals at your job who value relationship over results/process.
Communicate Effectively – Being a strong and effective communicator is essential for success. Your words should be able to convey confidence, inspire trust, build momentum and get results. If you struggle in this area, it would serve you to invest in your development by attending a class on how to communicate effectively in the workplace. If your job won’t pay for it, consider paying for yourself. The return on the investment is immeasurable. Recommendation: Speakeasy
Know the Unwritten Rules – Knowing the unwritten rules in your workplace can often be a challenge to discern but if you enlist the help of a mentor it can be much easier. Find a mentor that you can trust, outside of your department, who has been successful at your company. Once you’ve built up your mentoring relationship, ask them questions about the unwritten rules and how to navigate them.
Manage Your Emotions – Even the calmest person can get ticked off about something that happens at work. Whether it’s a particular co-worker or a micro-managing boss, your emotions may be tested every day. Do your best to manage them. Recognize in the moment when your emotions are being tested and look for ways to diffuse the situation. Be it by ending the conversation and scheduling a time to pick it back up or simply taking a deep breath in the moment, learning to manage your emotions will ensure you don’t do or say something that may damage your brand.