Just Got Promoted? How to Handle Office Politics
After years of hard work and coping up with difficult bosses, you finally got the promotion! You get that long-awaited raise, big fat bonus, nice little office, and a coveted parking space.
However, after drinking champagne and treating the family out to dinner, you must finally face the long road ahead: bigger responsibilities, longer working hours, and, the trickiest part of them all, dealing with more people.
Here are some pointers to help you in dealing with people:
First things first, do not let your position get into your head. Do you remember how you hated this boss for being so condescending or another boss for being so out of touch? Letting your position or title control your interactions with other people is the surest way to gain enemies!
Previous bosses are good sources of “what NOT to do” when you are in similar position. Remember things that you liked about the bosses you have had. List down your rants and raves and this will serve as your “what to do and not to do” list.
Ever had a boss that embarrassed you in front of other people but never praised you if you did something good? Make a note to praise and give credit in public and reprimand in private. Did you ever have a boss who is a slave-driver devil who wears Prada? Have you had one who left you alone and clueless and was too lax? Make a note to be firm with your subordinates but do not breathe down their necks.
Make the list as comprehensive as possible and read it regularly, if only to make sure that you are not making the same mistakes your other bosses did.
Treat your subordinates well. It might not have occurred to you, but a well-performing employee under your supervision now might overtake you and become your boss in the future. You will never want to be in the position where your whipping boy might get hold of the whip and turn the tables on you. Here is your best bet: let go of the whip.
Imagine this, you find yourself in a situation where a “more senior” subordinate – one who is older and has worked longer in your company or someone that was bypassed for promotion, becomes your worst detractor. Sometimes these people would just drop lines for you to hear, but other times they become outright adversarial and would question every single rule you lay down, idea you present, or policy that you enforce.
To wiggle out of this tight spot, you must convince this person that you recognize his seniority. The best way to do this is to give him greater responsibilities or even share some of your responsibilities with him. Recognize his expertise (or at least what he claims to be his expertise!) by sharing responsibility. This is a win-win situation for you. If he delivers, then you would have found yourself a good assistant. If he doesn’t deliver, everybody will know and he will be forced to put his foot where his mouth is.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when you become a boss is to remember where you came from. While few people would like to remember their drudgeries in the rank-and-file, it is important to remember your list of how you wished to be treated by your boss. Merely playing by that rule will not only make you a better supervisor, or manager, or chairman; it will also makes you a good leader.