Career success

Working With Colleagues Successfully

A Harvard study suggests that we consider our work colleagues as our neighbors, avoid other generalizations such as family or enemy and such. With neighbors, we know a give and take happens all the time, and all this time, they are watching us and they are watching us. And all the while we both do our best to help the neighborhood survive and thrive.


Our colleagues become our feared competitors only when it becomes obvious to us that the colleagues are messing up our projects and other tasks, or they are better positioned with the bosses compared to you, and thus endangering our chances of salary raises, promotions etc.


Part 1: Seven proven ways to go one up on your work colleagues


Bring value to your employer/Cultivate your boss

That is your number 1 goal at all times. You get enviable power when you understand what the employer needs, what the bosses need, when you share expectation and results with them actively, because then the bosses will have your back most of the time.


Work well with others

Either through teamwork or intra-department prjcet work and such, you focus on the job at hand, are willing to help and take help if needed, are okay with some timely give and take, and do what is expected of you. When they see you get along well with others easily, avoiding unnecessary conflicts, and get the job done, people will at least respect you. Some may join forces when needed.


Network well with others

Be interesting and valuable to your colleagues outside work as well- on social media, in social events and elsewhere. People push those to the ground first whom they don't like. Friends etc are good meat only when the zombie apocalypse is near.


Build trust by delivering consistently

Develop a reputation for reliability inside your company. You work hard. You mind your business (bringing value). You don't trod over others' toes unless really, really need to. You promise only what you can deliver and thus are 100% reliable.


Your future lies in being of continual value to the company

Make sure, using your connections, that you have right (not necessarily the best) assignments, and given leeway to choose resources- team members, money, tools etc.


Build your support base

Get backing of bosses above the level of your immediate boss at least, who will guide and support through office conflicts and politics. This means you have to be of value to these senior people.


Have perspective. Get some context.

Get into your colleagues' shoes. See how they see the world and this job. Adjust your tactics accordingly. But be understanding, boss.


Part 2: How to survive in a tough, manipulative workplace


This is a more cynical take on 'dealing with colleagues and come out on top'. This is a darker take on the story which tells us we should always be working on our boss, our colleagues and our competition (our colleagues are the competition, in this story)


1. Cultivate your boss (and there are several types)

If your boss is of the maniacal type, keep your head down, do your work, and keep quiet. If you want to, praise him indirectly, and see to it that the praise gets to him. Do not try to get his attention overtly.


If your boss is smarter than you, and there will be many, agree with him all the time, and if you want to speak, talk in philosophical terms.


If your boss is hands-off type, easygoing, always distracted with something, this is your best chance to shine, and never forget to blame him for your failures.


If your boss is like you, act on your bright ideas you were always afraid to try out. But do not spend too much time talking your strategy with him.


2. Always be on the look out for coworkers you can befriend or exploit later. (ouch)

Don't expect much from coworkers you get along with daily. Those are just your good-time friends.

Make friends with coworkers who are into kissing the boss's ass. Never know when you might need them. But no over-sharing with these

Keep incompetent coworkers in good humor so that you can pin your failures/shortcomings on to them.


3. Never let your enemies (for example, competition, backstabbers, etc.) know you think too much about them.


Plot their fall all the time. Report about their slightest mistake (with maximum discretion, of course) to the human resources who always want to prove their worth.


(Source: 'How to Win In the Machiavellian Workplace', Gawker)


Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life.  Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.