Teacher’s pets and bullies are such a cliché—and both are pretty annoying presences at school. But they do exist, and when you enter the workplace, lo and behold, you’ll come across some of them, too.
Yes, some bosses play favorites and give advantages to only a few employees. Some co-workers also use their seniority to boss you around. We asked a couple of managers how employees should deal with these v v annoying scenarios like a pro.
First and foremost, look in the mirror.
Are your supervisors or colleagues really the bad guys or are *you* the one that hinders your own professional growth? Screw-ups and nasty personalities aren’t the only main factors why people don’t seem to fit in a work environment. Sometimes, it’s simply the person’s lack of initiative and extreme introversion to the point of social avoidance.
Who wouldn’t think that you’re not a team player if you don’t collaborate during projects? And who wouldn’t assume that you’re incompetent if you don’t share anything during meetings? Who wouldn’t dislike you as a co-worker if you never talk to others? There’s a difference between staying professional and being a snob. Think about it, and if you’re convinced that “it’s not you, it’s them,” then read on.
Obviously, don’t join the bandwagon.
Are your co-workers only making sipsip or pretending to be busy when the boss is present but go slacking around when the cat is away? NEVER. JOIN. THE GODDAMN BANDWAGON. Have some integrity! You should be willing to lose anything but that. Irvin Perono, Senior Operations Manager of Transcom Asia-Pacific’s Manila-Tiendesitas Site agrees. “No matter how skillful a person is but if he doesn’t have the right attitude, he will eventually fail,” he says.
It all boils down to treating others the way you want to be treated. As Irvin notes, “Respect is very important. Respect should be given to everyone in the company regardless of the position. The amount of respect you give to others will also be the same respect that they will give you in return.” If someone does cross the line and blatantly abuse their power, it’s time to file that incident report to HR.
Occasionally, it’s natural that you might feel like you’re not doing enough or you’re not sure if you’re on the right track in terms of your short and long-term goals. You might even feel like you’re not doing your job right. In which case, Irvin advises, “If you feel that what you are doing is not right, always seek help from your immediate supervisor. This will help you cover your back and you will get the right decision. If you observed that others are not doing it the right way, do not fall into that trap. Many employees who are good can be fired from work because they don’t adhere to the ethical standards of that workplace.”
Focus on building good working relationships.
Even if you’re not exactly fond of your teammates or bosses, you have to make sure that when it comes to work, you collaborate and you do it efficiently with them. “We cannot choose the people that we are going to work with,” as Irvin puts it. “We don’t have the liberty to choose the ideal boss that we will be dealing with. It is important to work with your colleagues harmoniously and your boss closely. Your boss decides 90% of the time when it comes to your career path, and your colleagues can provide feedback that will also make or break your career.”
Don’t worry if you started off on the wrong foot or if you had a few slip-ups in the past. With the right attitude, you can rebuild those working relationships. Irvin further says, “If you feel that you’re not in good terms with your boss, you need to start patching things up. Maturity comes with understanding the people around you—more importantly your boss.”
Rozz Randell Cadavillo, who's a former chief accountant for Hunt-Universal Robina Corp. (currently working for UST Hospital), also shares the importance of developing a good working relationship with your colleagues or bosses. “It helps [if] you have better lines of communication—[it] also benefits you in the long run. With this, employees are enabled to speak their mind, allowed to grow, and it also makes them more open to suggestions or feedback, which will then lead to better output or higher productivity. It also cultivates a culture of sharing knowledge and caring for the company's goals to create an environment that everyone is willing to contribute and everyone has each other’s backs to attain a common goal.” And if your contributions have merit to the company, you will be treated as a valuable employee.
Eyeing a promotion? Don’t let office politics hinder it!
Yes, you can still get a promotion even if you’re not a favorite and even if you don't want to step on other people's toes just to get ahead. When asked whether or not office politics affect promotions, Ritche Guiang, DipIR, MIR, a senior manager and HR business partner, says, “This shouldn’t be the case nowadays for companies that have shifted to a performance-based environment. Metrics and KPIs have greatly reduced the impact of favoritism and office politics in the workplace, as people are measured based on their contribution to the organization.” So never take those periodic or year-end evaluations for granted!
Of course, office politics can’t be helped in some companies whose execs or higher-ups may not be aware of what the rank-and-file employees are experiencing. If that’s the case, Ritche has some sage advice: “If ever you do find yourself in such a situation, it is best to refer to concrete achievements when you make your move. It’s not about tenure anymore but how good your track record is based on your performance over the past years.”
That’s true whether you’re asking for a promotion or simply trying to pull up your evaluation scores. Ritche suggests, “Find out where you can improve and aim to develop that aspect. Top performers easily stand out and are usually taken care of and looked after in performance-based establishments. If all else fails, look for another and more progressive organization.”
So it’s really up to you—will you make a move or move on already?
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