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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Going For More At Work

Being smart and doing a good job can get you only so far, says Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor of organisational behavior at Stanford University. For really getting what you deserve — promotion, bonus, award — try high emotional intelligence and political savvy. Powerful people emphasise those traits, he says.

• Accept reality. 'It's a fact that people have done bad work and still become successful, while others have done great work and gotten fired. So if you want to play football you have to put on the pads and play. Don't become a shallow game player at work. It's far better to be smart, hardworking and savvy. This is really not about necessarily changing yourself in a dramatic way. Just be more strategic. You can't just hope that things are going to change or wish that things are not as they are,' says Pfeffer.

• Pick a good spot. You want a domain that fits your interests, said Pfeffer, author of  Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't: 'What gets you into serious trouble is to say, 'I'm going to show them that they're wrong.' What you should be asking yourself is, 'If I took all this effort and hard work to change these people's minds and instead go to a new environment, I would probably do better.''

• Talk with purpose. In Western countries, many people who blabber loudly are seen as leaders, wrote Robert Sutton in Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst: 'But, don't talk the whole time, as people will see you as a bully, boring or both. People gain power by winning interruption wars, interjecting and battling back when others try to interrupt,' says Pfeffer.

• Be vigilant. Avoid voluntarily surrendering your power and influence. If you're at a meeting with your boss, take every opportunity to shine. If you're attending a key event with a colleague, be strategic about being gracious. It's fine to introduce your friend, but don't fade into the woodwork and let a co-worker take over the conversation. Remember, this can be your moment to impress.

• Be forceful. You've probably heard experts advise you to get along with colleagues. Another take: 'There's a ton of research that shows that displaying anger is more likely to have other people accord you status,' says Pfeffer. Don't fly off the handle. Sometimes simply crossing your arms sends a powerful message. 'First demonstrate competence, then engage in a reasonable amount of self-promotion and be forceful,' he says.