In last week’s blog post, I talked about the importance of playing office politics (OP), especially for women. It seems like it goes without saying that before you can play any game, including OP, you have to know the rules, but how much thought have you given to how well you know and understand the rules of your office?
When I started practicing law in the mid-80’s, not knowing the rules could have been disastrous for your career, and the same holds true today. There were the explicit rules: come to work on time, be polite to your co-workers, keep track of every single minute of your time, dress like a man (grey or black suits and bow ties) …. LOL, and as Saints Coach Sean Peyton is known for saying, “Do Your Job!!” But, there were some unwritten rules that weren’t so apparent. Every associate was to show up on Saturdays to work and stay at least until noon, whether you had something to do or not. (I learned this from one of the male associates when I didn’t show up my first Saturday, and for the life of me, couldn’t make it make sense, but once I learned the rule, I went to work every Saturday until noon regardless of whether I had work to do.)
Knowing the rules means knowing and understanding the culture of the environment that you work in. Some offices are more “touchy-feely” and encourage employees to socialize and chat during the work day. Other offices are all business and see idle chatter as a waste of the company’s time and resources. Some encourage discourse and make decisions by “committee,” and others have a monarchy or pyramid governance structure. If you thrive on collaboration, but you work in an environment where collaboration is not appreciated, you will either have to find a way to get your collaboration on quietly, or you will need to find another job.
How well do you know the rules of your office? What kind of culture does your office have? Is it consensus building? Does your office encourage diversity or play lip service only? Think about the last people who were promoted, demoted and fired. What types of behavior were rewarded or punished?
If you can’t answer these questions, you may want to do some reconnaissance so that you don’t become the next tragedy and get voted off the island.
If your current or previous company has some “interesting” rules that are unique, please take a minute to share them with us.
And of course, Wheeler Coaching is always here to partner with you to Live, Love, Learn, Play, Win & Be.