You have a new boss who’s been brought in as a “reformer.” His two predecessors were canned in six and nine months respectively. You are tiptoeing around because you have no idea what’s going on. You may put a foot wrong because you are so ill-informed. This is the situation ready-made for smart office politicians.
We’d never suggest you try to become one right now. OP requires years of patient observation, experimentation, and analysis. However, you can connect with people who’ve done that and get their perspective. Turn to the longest-serving employee in the office. Get on her calendar for coffee or lunch. Then ask the following questions.
1. What is going on? She knows! She will tell you if you ask nicely. She wants people to know she knows. If you’re young approach her as a mentor. If you’re a peer approach her as an expert.
2. What does she think of the new boss’s prospects for success? Don’t be surprise if she’s negative. Two failures in the same job beget another. The job obviously needs to be rethought and restructured.
3. Who would she advise you to watch? Who are the power players in this situation? It’s not easy to decide because the best politicians are almost invisible when they choose to be.
4. What’s her best survive-and-thrive advice? If she seems coy it’s not because she’s teasing you. She may not know or have formed a theory.
5. How long does the new boss have to get results? Again, she may not know but she may have an educated guess. If she sees a pattern — each new boss has less time to make things right — you can anticipate that this boss will be gone in three or four months.
Why do you care? If you know more change is likely you can decide whether this job is the best use of the skills you’ve chosen to sell. If it’s going to require killer political skills — one in every 65-70 people have them — you may want to consider a job hunt. Office politics requires so much work — when well done — it’s a full-time job. If this isn’t the skill set you want, you’re in for a bumpy ride. It’s your choice.
If your colleague gives you important information she deserves a hand-written note — not God forbid — an email!
Invite Marilyn to Speak to Your Group
Marilyn can help you and your team master office politics quickly! Why be victims? Contact Marilyn Moats Kennedy today to arrange a speaking date for your organization or group.