When people go to work, they often go to play. Sure work is a serious place for many, and I’m not talking about childish play, but the serious work of the self serving band of people who this it is okay to take advantage of their naive colleagues. People who have a strong sense of integrity often find themselves out maneuvered and destined to arrive gazing at the podium from a distance as the winners show of their trophies.
You’ll be surprised how simple it is to equip yourself with self defence knowledge and skill. Since writing “21 Dirty Tricks at Work” I have been delighted with the way avid readers have studied and been able to learn the techniques to win with integrity.
The priority is to build your awareness. Here are some of the more common dirty tricks that get played in the office…
Creative Magpie: Exaggerating involvement in the ideas and good work of others or blatantly stealing them whilst hiding the originators worthy contributions.
Development Opportunity: The tactic of motivating someone to take on a task, project or assignment they might reasonably refuse, by pretending it is a development opportunity.
Email to the Gods: Using email to shame or coerce another. This is usually an email arriving from a colleague (which includes either true or false information) leveling accusations of blame, which are also copied on to bosses, directors, customers, suppliers etc.
Then you need to learn how to protect yourself. Here are my top 5 tips…
Tip No. 1: Get curious and ask questions. Don’t ask them in an accusing manner. Make sure and keep it light and keep asking until you get to the bottom of what is really going on.
Tip No. 2: Control your emotions. Sure you may be angry when you spot a “Fall Guy” dirty trick heading your way, but if you lose your temper you will find it more difficult to cope. So keep a cool head.
Tip No. 3: Try to figure out why they are doing it. There must be a reason – what benefit do they get if you fall for the trick? If you can work this out you may be able to deploy the next tip more easily.
Tip No. 4: Get constructive. Once you have asked lots of questions, try to come up with some creative solutions where you can both win.
Tip No. 5: Try to maintain your own integrity. Don’t get tempted into playing dirty tricks back – chances are they will see this coming and be ready to trip you up.
If you practice these tips, you’ll soon begin to realize how quickly you can make progress without getting into an argument. You’ll find out that you don’t have to be a victim to office politics. And the more positive action you take, the less your more Machiavellian colleagues are likely to try a game on you. So take heart, there is something you can do to cope with political games and dirty tricks without joining in!