Are You in In-Groups?

Are You in In-Groups? In-groups and out-groups Companies don’t like admitting there are in-groups and out-groups—it conflicts with the one-big-happy-family thing they have going. They want to believe that everybody is equally valued and there are no first among equals. But, of course, organizations are set up exactly that way. There are in-groups at every level of a hierarchy, usually consisting of the boss and some of his immediate subordinates. So your boss is in more of an in-group than you by virtue of his position. So, in-groups abound, most centered around the boss. (I’ll deal with peer-centered in-groups later). Being part of one can bring many benefits. So, my first question is: Are you in the in-group? This might seem a silly question but sometimes people don’t know. You are usually part of the in-group[1] if: You’re the boss’ go-to guy. If you hear what’s coming down the pipe first and particularly if the boss asks your opinion of the new development, you’re probably in the in-group. But we need to distinguish between expert opinion and judgment opinion. Your boss might ask you something in your area of expertise. This is just fact-finding. When the boss asks your opinion…

Is There an In-Group at Your Work?

Is There an In-Group at Your Work? It’s a silly question to some If you have a boss who clearly favors some subordinates, and especially if you’re not one of the chosen, this seems a silly question as it’s as plain as the nose on your face that an in-group exists at your work. But for those either new to work or to the concept, it can be hard to tell. Is there an in-group at your work? There probably is, in that it’s just human nature for the boss to turn to people who’ve been with her a while, whose judgment she values, or who have a perspective she finds helpful. But the presence of an in-group is not as important as whether their special status affects your ability to do good work and be respected for it. Here are some ways to assess this: If you see a couple of the in-group talking, do you feel free to go up and ask, “What’s up?” and do they respond by including you in the discussion? Or do you have to be sure it’s a non-work exchange before you break in? If something happens you don’t like, can you say…

The Secret Code of Getting Ahead

The Secret Code of Getting Ahead You can garner influence by using the techniques outlined in the previous post. However, you need to recognize a secret code about the pursuit of power. Not following them will doom your best efforts to implement these techniques. Secret Code Number One: you have to pretend you’re not interested in power Sounds weird, no?  But the rule is that it’s okay to be seen as ambitious in general not in the specific. In general, it is usually considered good, praise-worthy even. Senior managers look favorably on an employee who wants to get ahead. So, if someone asks you whether you’re ambitious, it’s okay to admit to it. However, even then, it’s probably better to reply in the correct code (I’m certainly interested in doing all I can for the company) than a bald ‘yes.’ But ambition often isn’t acceptable when talking about a specific promotion or plum. If you said, “I knew you’d get that promotion. You’re so ambitious,” that person would likely reply something like, “No, no, I just want the opportunity to contribute.”[1] The savvy reply this way because they know it’s dangerous to be seen as succeeding in your ambition—that success…

How Do I Get Power/Influence?

How Do I Get Power/Influence? Let’s say you’ve recognized that you want influence or power in your job, either to move ahead or avoid falling behind. First and as a given, you need to do your present job exceptionally well even if it’s a joe job and you know you’d be more successful at a higher level. Bosses don’t promote people who are doing a crummy job, no matter the reason. However, that’s not enough. To position yourself for promotion, you need to be influential with your boss and within your company.[1] Even if your boss doesn’t have the power to promote you, he can usually assign you to projects which increase your skills or assign you to cross-functional teams. The first makes you more promotable and the second gives you profile. How do you create influence? How many of the following are effective in creating influence? Working even harder Doing whatever needs to be done Flattering the boss Suggesting new ideas even if you give the credit to others Suggesting new ideas even if they aren’t your own Highlighting the many fires you’ve put out Did you pick more than one? Nope, I’d say the only one which works…

Power Matters to You

Power Matters to You In the last post, you were vying for the power to develop a new company service. Despite your and Sarah’s best efforts, Mike positioned himself as the only one to do it. Why should you care about power? So, why does this matter? You may be thinking that you’re not power-hungry so this undercurrent can’t or shouldn’t affect you. (My definition of power is later if you’re interested.) After all, you’ve got a job. Who cares who gets the power? You do or should. The scenario in the last post showed why. Not only will Mike increase his profile but possibly at your expense if the money Mike needs is diverted from your budget. If so, you can’t meet your commitments but can kiss your year-end bonus good-bye. You not only don’t advance your career by creating the new service, you may actually lose ground. So news—even if you just want to do your job, power can and does affect that modest goal. Without it, you can’t prevent yourself from being at the whim of those who with it. What you do, how you do it, when you do it, who you work with, who you…