The Importance Of Being Present In Leadership

Leaders often find themselves looking for the next best thing, distracted by the past and worrying about the future.

However, dwelling in the past or the future brings about dissatisfaction and unhappiness, impedes leaders from being effective, from being creative or finding appropriate solutions.

Indeed, we have all experienced these moments in meetings when everyone in the room is completely checked out, where people talk over each other and where no useful information is shared.

Wondering how to improve your leadership and live in the present?

The Importance Of Being Present In Leadership

What being present means?

Being present is a state of mind. It means being able to quiet your mind, to stay open and authentic, to remain in constant contact with your emotions and with your surroundings.

Being present means living in the moment and not overthinking the past, the present or the future. When you live in the present, you don’t over-analyze life, you accept your situation, take action or effectively resolve your problem.

Benefits of being present

Being present is powerful because it can be acted upon right now.

Usually, people dissatisfaction or unhappiness is caused by their attachment to the future or the past. Being present will help you:

  • Become more effective, more intuitive, more creative.
  • Be more aware of your fluctuating thoughts and emotions.
  • Achieve a higher sense of confidence and authenticity.
  • Increase your level of gratitude, trust, respect and broaden your charisma.
  • Gain the ability to interpret and to respond appropriately to any given situation.
  • Get the most out of your day and out of others.
  • Hone your communication and relationship skills. You can then connect with others, adapt to people and read them better.
  • Build up your emotional intelligence.
  • Foresee challenges and notice details.
  • Avoid being in a constant state of pain, anxiety or depression.
  • Retrieve your ability to enjoy your life and be an inspiration to people around you.
  • Activate the Law of Attraction.

How to become more present?

Most of the time our mind is somewhere else.

Thoughts submerge us whether we want it or not. Therefore, asking someone to stop thinking is like asking them to stop breathing.

Your job is to not eliminate the thoughts that come to mind but to control them.

Needless to say, learning to be present is not an overnight process. Becoming more present requires a lot of self-discipline and self-awareness:

  1. Understand that you are a mental, intellectual, emotional, spiritual being.
  2. Understand that your past doesn’t define you and that you cannot go back in time. Worrying about the past will not help you identify what is wrong in the present and will definitely strengthen your negative thoughts.
  3. Do not worry about the future. Your mind tries to create the future from your past and not from your present information. However, dreaming of your future is OK if you are expecting better for yourself.
  4. Be self-aware and conscious. The moment you realize that you are not present, you are in the moment.
  5. Stay true to yourself, avoid comparing yourself to others and avoid caring about what others think of you.
  6. Listen to your gut and constantly remind yourself of your purpose.
  7. Observe the patterns of your mind and observe your own reaction.
  8. Accept the thoughts that come to you, don’t act on them and keep it moving.
  9. Take time to reflect, to listen to yourself before dealing with people or entering a situation that you cannot handle. For example, I like taking my lunch break alone to center myself, to give me time to recharge my batteries.
  10. Slow down, avoid multitasking and give yourself time to think before making a decision.
  11. Avoid external distractions to be able to engage properly with people.
  12. Prioritize, appreciate your time and energy. It is also important to avoid missing moments with your family and friends.
  13. Be more empathetic, actively listen to people and seek someone else’s point of view.
  14. Find things to be grateful about.
  15. Find an activity that you enjoy in the moment.
  16. Practice focusing on your breathing.
  17. Surround yourself with people who matter most to you.
  18. Compliment people, once in a while and give them your full attention.
  19. Do not self-medicate.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains the reasons why we are afraid of being vulnerable, the different ways we protect ourselves from vulnerability, and how to become more vulnerable in our society.

Daring Greatly means being vulnerable, being engaged, being exposed and avoiding being perfect.

Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

A Narcissistic Society

Many researchers have shown that the American culture has turned into a narcissistic influenced culture, a culture of scarcity, a culture where people put themselves first, think that they are special, are always connected to social media, go after money and power, chase beauty and other vanity, compare themselves, are disengaged and concerned with the idea of lacking.

Instead of putting sown narcissistic people and showing them that they are not special, it is better to seek understanding and find the root of the problem.

Being narcissistic stems from a feeling of not being enough and of being ordinary.

Vulnerability & The Feeling Of Not Being Enough

The feeling of not being enough brings about shame and stops us from being vulnerable. Shame is a universal emotion, is corrosive, “keeps us small, resentful and afraid”.

Furthermore, we become disengaged when we are too afraid to be vulnerable, when we are ashamed, when we lack purpose, when a social contract is not met.

It is critical to speak out on your shame, to be self-aware, to know your self-worth, to ask and receive feedback because knowing your worth will help you become more vulnerable.

To eradicate the feeling of shame:

  • Identify your shame triggers.
  • Observe your self talk.
  • Practice authenticity.
  • Accept your experiences.
  • Share your experience, be vulnerable with someone who genuinely cares about you.

Common Misconceptions About Vulnerability

We are thought not to be vulnerable, not to show our emotions, to look down on those who do. There are several misconceptions when it comes to vulnerability.

Misconception #1: “Vulnerability is weakness”

The reality is vulnerability is not a weakness, is not good or bad. Vulnerable is the origin of all emotions. It therefore becomes important to acknowledge your vulnerability.

Besides, the people who think that they are impenetrable are in fact the most vulnerable.

Misconception #2: “I don’t do vulnerability”

Vulnerability is unavoidable. When we try to avoid it, we often exhibit unusual inconsistent behaviors.

Misconception #3: Vulnerability is letting it all hang out”

You cannot be vulnerable with everyone. It is important to build trust and boundaries before being vulnerable. Otherwise, more times than ever, you will end up getting betrayed and hurt.

Misconception #4: “We can go it alone”

Individualism and going it alone are highly regarded in American culture. In this case, it is essential to construct a support system, to ask for and receive help

Shame As A Management Tool

Most of the time, shame and the blame game are used as management tool, yet is ineffective.

Subsequently, the situations that we face on a daily basis, in the education system, in the workplace, force us to keep our head down and our mouth shut which doesn’t encourage innovation, creativity or the learning process.

Vulnerability & Protective Mechanism

Our protective mechanisms are survival strategies, used to shield our vulnerability. Those shields can go from foreboding joy, to perfectionism to numbing down your emotions.

To avoid shielding vulnerability, it is critical to:

  • Practice gratitude.
  • Appreciate your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Confront your emotions.
  • Live a more fulfilling life and feed your spirit.
  • Focus your time and energy on the essentials.
  • Consider how your behavior affect those around you.

Shield #1: Victim mentality

Some people go through life with a victim or perpetrator, win or lose mentally and subsequently fall into one of these categories.

Surprisingly, the people who have been through the most trauma, demonstrate the most resilience. And, people who don’t feel like victims or perpetrators, see themselves as thrivers.

Shield #2: “Floodlighting”

Floodlighting is essentially oversharing and stems from a need for confirmation and validation.

We have to be careful not to share vulnerable stories too soon with people who have not earned the right to hear them. The people on the receiving end often shut down, lack empathy or feel disconnected.

Shield #3: “The smash and grab”

With this shield, some people use vulnerability as a manipulation, sensationalizing tactic that is common in celebrity culture, as an attention seeking tool.

Shield #4: “Serpentining”

Serpentining is a draining and an avoidance behavior. It happens when people are not facing a situation head on for fear of being vulnerable, of not being present.

Shield #5: Mean-spiritedness

In this case, people use criticism, cynicism and mean-spiritedness to protect themselves. They are mean to people who dare demonstrate vulnerability.

Review

Daring Greatly is essential to leadership, parenting, relationships, finding your purpose and your passion.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown gives insight into the corporate and the western culture where being vulnerable equals being weak and lets you open to different attacks.

Through Daring Greatly, Brown has gathered data from people from different walks of life so we can somewhat self diagnose and become more aware of some of our toxic behavior.

Brené Brown makes some pertinent point and writes exactly like she speaks. Furthermore, Brown is very open and authentic, shares her anecdotes, fears and doubt. For example, she is vulnerable with us, mindful of the stories to share, lets us into her conversations with her therapist.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Favorite quote(s)

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying. Researchers don’t find shame correlated with positive outcomes at all—there are no data to support that shame is a helpful compass for good behavior. In fact, shame is much more likely to be the cause of destructive and
hurtful behaviors than it is to be the solution.

Much of the beauty of light owes its existence to the dark. The most powerful moments of our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion, and connection and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Brené Brown

Brené Brown

MEET THE AUTHORBrené Brown is a PhD, a researcher at the University of Houston and the author of The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts..

Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades provides tools and strategies to manage your ability to focus.

What is focus?

Focus is the concentration required to consciously block out the noise and the distractions while performing a task.

The ability to focus can be a natural talent. But for most of us, it is a built-in habit, a skill which means it can be learnt.

Why do you need to effectively manage your attention? 

Focus can positively impact your life. A lack of focus will reduce your effectiveness and your work quality.

Lack of focus or mind-wandering is not all negative. It helps us get in time with our creative side and find solutions to difficult circumstances.

However, gaining better focus will help you finish all your tasks on time, make better decisions, solve problems, become more productivity, get a successful work/life balance, embrace failure and learn  from your mistakes.

By improving your focus, you can reserve your energy for relationships, build stronger connections, become more present, increase your memory, achieve greater self-confidence, handle and overcome adversity.

Why are people so unfocused?

Nobody is impervious to distraction. People are easily distracted because they usually:

  • lack interest, are unable to commit or stay engaged to a particular task.
  • lack emotional intelligence and are submerged by fear.
  • are disorganized and don’t structure their day.
  • lack energy. They don’t sleep, eat or exercise correctly.
  • lack control or discipline.

Creating an environment to focus

Designing the proper environment is the first way to zero in on your task and to harmonize your workflow:

  1. Light up your work environment and always take advantage of your natural light. A low lighting makes you drowsy, strains your eyes and decrease your learning abilities.
  2. Some people feel comfortable working with background noises while others enjoy silence. Experiment and find out which one works best for you.
  3. Consider your level of physical comfort. To do so, you can adjust your clothes, your stationary, your sitting position, your sitting time and your sight line.
  4. Monitor the temperature of the room. For example, a too warm room will cause you to sleep.
  5. Breathe clean air.
  6. Practice aromatherapy. Some scents have a direct impact on your mood, mind and effectiveness.
  7. Avoid social situations if you want to work. Human nature makes us drawn to people but interacting with people decrease your focus.
  8. Organize and declutter your workspace. Clutter affects your focus more than you think because it decreases your processing abilities, hurts your creativity and occupies your memory space.
  9. Monitor your time to measure your progress.
  10. Write down your ideas and tasks so they don’t monopolize your thoughts.

Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades (3)

Strategies to overcome mind-wandering

There are several tactics to increase your focus, to relax and to avoid the biggest distractions in your life.

  1. As stated above, it is essential to monitor your time, to set realistic deadlines, to reward yourself and break down your tasks in smaller steps.
  2. Don’t set too many daily goals and limit yourself to 5 tasks daily or else you will feel overwhelmed and pressured.
  3. Identify the purpose for every task.
  4. Exercise first thing in the morning.
  5. Avoid ignoring the ideas and thoughts floating around in your head. Log them down quickly before you forget them.
  6. Identify “internal or external stimuli” that break your concentration.
  7. Record every task that you must undertake by putting them down via a to do list.
  8. To sharpen your focus, to enter the zone and boost your performance, listen to music or nurture silence.
  9. Take regular breaks and naps to refresh your mind, to refresh your mind and to avoid boredom.
  10. Restore your focus by taking a short walk instead of remaining at your desk.
  11. Multitasking is valued by society. However, attacking one task at a time will help increase your performance and your work quality.
  12. Pack all similar activities into one and execute them in a row while monitoring your time.
  13. Break down your day into several tasks and allocate the time necessary for each task.
  14. Stay away from internet.
  15. Spend less time in meetings or avoid meetings all together as they can clog up your day and as they hold little value.
  16. Set boundaries and expectations about your time and your focus.
  17. Turn off your phone for long periods of time.
  18. Observe how your energy fluctuates during the day and use moments where your energy is high to achieve high productivity.
  19. Mediate and take care of your inner peace.
  20. Stop checking your mails frantically. Instead, keep track of your inbox once or twice a day.
  21. Define a daily routine and follow it. Routines facilitates your life, enables ow brain processing. You can use that same brain power to accomplish your tasks.
  22. Stay away from perfectionism.
  23. Completely edit the first draft then come back to correct your mistakes.
  24. Stop “consuming too much caffeine” because it is unhealthy and reduces your ability to concentrate.

Review

Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time! is a pragmatic, complete, quick and easy to read self-help book.

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades shares valuable tips on how to increase your productivity and your focus.

Damon Zahariades shares his preferences and also incorporates practical links  and tools to enable your productivity.

It is a step by step guide, written for leaders, for people from all walks of life, for those who are easily distracted by social media, for those who procrastinate, who daydream easily and those with low productivity.

I like the fact that this books highlights the fact that so many things, concepts and institutions in life are purposely set up to distract us from reality: from the local bully to the background music in the stores to technology and internet.

All these distractions are the reason why most people procrastinate and never achieve their version of success.

Favorite quote(s)

When we lack a specific purpose, we become more susceptible to distractions. We focus on whatever our brains tell us to focus on, rather than the other way around. We become passengers rather than drivers.

Ratings 2.5/5

Author

Damon Zahariades

Overcoming Procrastination & Becoming More Proactive

Whether you work from home or go to the office, procrastination plagues everybody.

However, a leader has no room for procrastination. Leaders who procrastinate are ineffective, unproductive and unaware of their own abilities.

They are unable to make the right decisions at the right time, to take action, to bring forth their vision, to reach their goals, to effectively manage their time, to discipline their thoughts and behavior, to properly manage uncertainty.

Consequently, followers start questioning their leadership potential and credibility.

Wondering how to stop procrastinating and to become much more proactive?

Overcoming Procrastination & Becoming More Proactive

What is procrastination?

Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not being lazy. Instead, procrastination is a defense mechanism.

Procrastination is the action of putting off an important yet unpleasant task, it is avoiding pain and pushing it back for later, it is neither starting nor completing a task.

Procrastination is ruled by fear, memories, avoidance of negative emotions, avoidance of pressure. Procrastination is often times linked to being a perfectionist.

Everybody procrastinates in different areas of their lives. You are a procrastinator if you:

  • lack motivation and resilience.
  • are often overwhelmed and frozen by tasks at work.
  • are afraid of failure or success, are afraid or paralyzed by the limelight.
  • don’t know where to start, are waiting for the right time and for everything to be perfect.
  • don’t find the time.
  • don’t feel like doing anything.
  • are waiting for all your ducks to line up in a row.
  • make excuses for your excuses.
  • doubt yourself and the task that you have to undertake.
  • don’t meet deadlines at work.
  • unable to make decisions or are motivated by the last minutes pressure.

How to stop procrastinating?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Indeed, the more the task is daunting , the more we push it back. The more we push it back, the less time we have, the more the task becomes daunting.

Stop procrastinating will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

  1. Take care of yourself first and foremost. Procrastination can affect different aspect of their lives as well.
  2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, be confident in your own abilities and maximize your potential.
  3. Stay positive, think about your past successes and boost your leadership self-esteem.
  4. Identify your purpose, your goals and understand the 80/20 Principle.
  5. Find meaning and satisfaction in your job.
  6. Learn self-discipline and increase your emotional intelligence. This will help you monitor what you say about yourself and to yourself, make clear and immediate decisions, to fight and understand your emotions. Don’t be afraid of challenging the status quo. Don’t let fear dictate your behavior and your decisions.
  7. Avoid overwhelming yourself, overthinking or over-analyzing a task. Measuring how difficult the task is and being afraid of failure will deter you from achieving any consequential result.
  8. Our perception of pain is programmed by past society and by past experiences. To get rid of that perception, visualize your success and your task accomplished.
  9. Write down what you have been procrastinating on and why. Write down 3 tasks that you must do. Work 5 minutes on each task successively without distraction.
  10. Break down on task in smaller feasible steps. Take the first step, focus on one step at a time and create momentum.
  11. Prioritize these steps: discern urgent tasks from important tasks, use the 80/20 principle. Take care of the hardest and most important task first and focus your energy on that.
  12. Estimate and isolate the time needed to execute your task. You can set a deadline and use a timer
  13. Commit to your tasks.
  14. Measure your progress and remind yourself of your accomplishments.
  15. To manage your time appropriately, anticipate obstacles, withstand challenges and find solutions.
  16. Make sure that your workspace is organized  for the work at hand.
  17. Stay away from distractions. Stay away from internet and social media, turn off your phone, don’t check your emails.
  18. Develop a sense of urgency. It is critical to remind yourself that you will lose the opportunity, to remind yourself of the consequences of not making decisions or taking action, to remember that there is no right time to accomplish your task.
  19. Create a vision board in order to better visualize your goals.
  20. Create a routine and aim for the long-term.
  21. Don’t try to be perfect.
  22. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
  23. Watch motivational videos to get you started.

Don’t wait until you are 100% sure.  The perfect time is now.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Building An Impactful Mentorship Relationship

I always wished someone had thought me what I know now, so I didn’t need to learn life and office politics the hard way.

Needless to say, mentors are hard to come by and it is difficult for women and minorities to find mentors in powerful positions.

However, achieving success without a mentor is possible but having one will definitively make your life easier.

Wondering how to score the perfect mentor or perfect mentee?

Building An Impactful Mentorship Relationship

What is mentorship?

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership. It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

To simplify, mentorship is basically an often exclusive work relationship between two people who are willing to learn from each other and to grow with each other.

Furthermore, mentorship is built on reciprocity and commitment. It requires trust, loyalty, personal empowerment, respect, effective time management, and resistance to social pressures.

Most mentorship are informal and naturally happen in the workplace. However, they can take place in your personal life.

If you are looking for a mentor…

You have to be able to effectively manage yourself, to handle all responsibilities and to not self-sabotage.

Are you ready for mentorship?

To prepare yourself for mentorship and to make yourself attractive to a mentor, you must develop your skills and your character on your own:

  • Keep a positive attitude and be open to learn.
  • Have goals and ambition.
  • Learn to build relationships, to handle office politics, pressures and failures.
  • Humble demonstrate your character and your smarts.
  • Take calculated risks.

Benefits to having a mentor

Mentorship provides the mentee, the learner or the protégé with:

  • Insights into the corporate culture, sound advice and ongoing feedback.
  • Leadership skills and increased job performance.
  • An ability to adapt to change.
  • More independence, more experiences, more challenges, more success and opportunities for evolution.
  • Appropriate jobs and roles in regards to your strengths.
  • Increased visibility, access to responsibilities and high positions.
  • Higher pay.
  • Emotional support, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, higher self-esteem, better focus, stronger confidence.

How to find a mentor?

You must not wait to be chosen by a mentor: you should make the first move. To find a mentor:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify your goals and make sure that they align with those of your future mentor.
  • Handle your career on your own, manage your own reputation, gain pertinent skills, work on yourself and on your goals first before seeking help.
  • Verify the role and status of the person of interest. The person must not necessarily be your supervisor, must not work at the same company or have the same position. Make sure that your mentor has exceptional skills, is well read, is self-aware and is always on the path of self-improvement.
  • Observe your mentor’s behavior and character to ensure that you will get along with them and look up to.
  • Test your mentor’s ability to handle work then ask for help.
  • Get to know your mentor on a personal level and keep in touch from time to time.
  • Seek understanding and accept mentorship influence.
  • Learn to keep secrets.

If you looking to be a mentor…

You must be willing to share your experiences, to be authentic, protective, fair, positive, patient and confident.

Mentors are motivators, are able to create strong relationships, are part of a powerful network, demonstrate exemplary leadership behavior, have influence, dedicate themselves to people, take risks, give sound advice, and give credit when it’s due.

Benefits to being a mentor

Being a mentor is rewarding and is an illustrious position. In a mentorship relationship, everyone benefits from each other’s success and brings equal goods to the table.

On one hand, mentors are able to share their life experiences, to share great work tips, to provide different perspectives, to retain the best employees and to improve the workplace. They can delegate work to a trusted employee, bridge the generational gap, get to work with different people and get more free time to themselves.

On another hand, without being part of your organization, mentees are able to positively impact the mentor’s image, reputation, forces them to sharpen their skills and to improve their work-life balance. Mentees keep their mentors in touch with their organization, up to date with their technical skills

Finally, mentorship is fulfilling because mentors are able to leave a legacy, to make their mark.

How to select a mentee?

The perfect mentee does not exist.

  • Be open to mentorship proposals early in life and early in your career
  • Observe if they have potential
  • Verify the mentee is curious, eager to learn and open to change
  • Verify that they are willing to put in the work

How to be a mentor?

To be the best mentor you can be:

  • Be a role-model.
  • Find out what you and your mentee want to achieve.
  • Set realistic expectations about the job and help them clarify their goals.
  • Find your most convenient mentorship and leadership style.
  • Know how to navigate most challenging situations.
  • Give support whenever you can, have an open door policy, respond to the needs and goals of your mentee.
  • Show appreciation and show that their opinions matter.
  • Give your mentee time to grow, time to commit and time to develop their skills.
  • Open up your network to the mentee and give direct access to success.
  • Don’t mold the mentee in your image and understand that they are their own person.
  • Incorporate mentoring programs in your organization if you can.
  • Let go of the mentee if your goals don’t align anymore and if the mentee has outgrown you.

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

There are laws and principles that govern the workplace. We can either ignore them, acknowledge them or abide by them.

These laws and principles are the most visible when someone has been promoted, is moving forward or a new boss is in town. Some appear to be jealous, some try to quickly affiliate with the winner, to show their allegiance. Others are quick to sabotage and to compete.

I am not one to willingly participate in office politics. However, in my opinion, because knowledge is power, the best way to avoid politics is to know the rules. I like to know what is happening, how to read a room, to always be aware of my behavior, and to prepare myself for what is coming.

This advice is also valuable for minorities who encounters western group think in the office, who need to be realistic about their situations and want to understand how to advance themselves, how to protect themselves.

Wondering how to navigate office politics and whether or not you should be interested in it?

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

What is office politics?

Office politics is a human concept and is inevitable. It is also very necessary and will go on whether your participate in it or not.

In office politics people seek power, leadership, influence and/or control of other people, more responsibility on their job.

Office politics is a particular hard skill because it requires that you control your primitive, impulsive responses to different situations and that you stay in high alert at all times.

The Perks Of Office Politics

Political animals in the office usually get what they want, to evade conflicts and sometimes create them between different individuals. Political animals:

  • Have influence. They build healthy relationships, even with toxic individuals.
  • Recognize the agendas and powers at play in any relationships.
  • Get the best projects, get promoted, get pay raise and other rewards.
  • Are trusted for their opinions.
  • Get credit for their hard work.
  • Get their career on a positive track.
  • Have the ability and the tools to deal with opposition and usually wins in a conflict.
  • Conserve their energy and focus it on worthwhile issues.
  • Avoid being blindsided or facing unpleasant outcomes.

What We Hate About Office Politics

Office politics is often badly perceived because it can be cruel, be viewed as being calculated and manipulative.

Sometimes, office politics is a dangerous and corrosive game but it is a game. It is part of human nature, a social activity, a marathon and not a sprint.

It is often used to sabotage, to manipulate, to deflect or to create a conflict between people.

Therefore, it is not for the faint of heart. Before starting, you must make sure that you are robust, are not dependent on people or other external factors, that you are emotionally detached from your work and that you can clearly separate your identity from your job.

Furthermore, keep in mind that abusing power on the long run does not lead to success.

Principle #1: Defining your purpose

Having greater goals in life will help you sustain and overcome opposition, avoid being pushed around by people or events. Your ultimate goals can be:

  • staying at a company and getting your pay check to ensure your lifestyle and to guarantee financial stability.
  • staying at a company, evolving, building healthy relationships
  • Living the company and finding better

Either way, set realistic goals, expectations for yourself. Next, stay focus on your goals, use your goals to guide your decisions and your behavior.

Principle #2: Know your strengths, weaknesses and limits

Politics and power will challenge your weaknesses.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you assess your worth, appreciate your contributions at work and determine whether or not you can run with horses. This will also help you identify them in others, understand them, maximize their potential and forgive their weaknesses.

To be effective at office politics, don’t directly demonstrate or enunciate your strengths or weaknesses. It is best to wait for the right moment to do so.

In addition, you must seek to enhance your performance, your productivity, to develop competencies that are hard to acquire or hard to replace. and to deliver great results. Then, discreetly promote your results.

Principle #3: Maintaining your leadership capabilities

It is important to learn to keep your peace and your composure at all times by seriously controlling your emotions. This demands a lot of discipline and will help you grow as a person.

Furthermore, lead by example and take care or yourself first. Great leaders have power but stay humble and don’t abuse it.

Seek understanding

To help you manage people, conflicts, to adopt the right behavior, to estimate your position and status:

  • Understand the company culture, values and principles.
  • Understand the people who you work with, estimate their boundaries and assess their attitudes.
  • Believe that hierarchy exist and is gladly enforced in the workplace. This means that you must, at some point, show deference to your “superiors”.This doesn’t mean that your “superiors” have greater character, greater skill sets or greater vision. However, no matter who you are, you won’t be able to freely speak your mind, to make your own decisions, to control your assignments.

Discipline your words and your thoughts

  • Stay away from gossip and rumors.
  • Watch what you say and how you say it.
  • Give substance to your speech.
  • Monitor your behavior at all times.

Discipline your emotions

  • Get rid of your ego and nurture your sense of humor. If you don’t know something, say so and don’t fake knowledge.
  • Don’t waste your time and energy on useless matters.
  • Keep your wits about you.
  • When someone slights you, don’t give them an emotional reaction.

Principle #4: Behave ethically

  • Remain true to your core values.
  • Don’t expect to be treated fairly.
  • Upgrade your character in order to be unimpeachable from the start. People with low or no ethics are unsuccessful in the long run.

Poor character leads to abusive, aggressive, masochistic, sadist behavior and office politics.

When I was working for a long corporation, one person in the office was being bullied. I was asked, as a team member, to participate in the bullying and to force the person to quit.

Most of my team members, for fun or for fear of retribution, would engage in toxic behavior towards this one person, put down false complaints and manufacture false rumors as well.

Without doing the same, I realized that sadistically beating down on someone, engaging in toxic behavior were not aligning with my core values and wouldn’t allow me to sleep properly at night.

To solve the solution, I simply listened to the request, spoke positively about the person, suggested to them that they had to find a better position and found a better place to work myself.

What was your ethically questionable experience?

Principle #5: Building your network and gaining influence

Networking is an important process, especially if your are shy and introverted. Who you know will determine how far you will get.

Here are some tips below that will help you be unbothered, to gain influence and build positive relationships:

  • Protect your reputation at all cost. For instance, if you make promises, live up to them.
  • Have a positive attitude. Avoid being mean or offending people for sport.
  • Act or be confident. It is important to fake it until you make it, to dress confidently and dress for success.
  • Give your best on your job and put your best foot forward. You can even become an expert in your field.
  • Empathetic ally listen to your coworkers. This way, you will get invaluable information about the environment, be solution oriented and build strong relationships.
  • Look to be respected and not to be liked.
  • Seek to integrate the group before you seek to lead it.
  • Target people who can help you achieve your goals and let them know what you bring to the table.
  • Don’t worry what people say about you, don’t gossip or spread false rumors.
  • Avoid too much flattery. You will appear weak to  your peers, will erode their respect and the respect of the higher-ups.
  • Involve people in your decision-making process.

Principle #6: Friend or Foe?

It is detrimental to discern your friends from your enemies, your confidant from your comrade, your constituents from your compatriots.

Keep in mind that:

  • Not everybody is your friend and don’t expect your “friends” to have your back.
  • It is better to have allies than to have enemies.
  • Your enemies won’t stop at anything to block you from achieving your purpose.

In conflicts or challenging situations:

  • Always seek to diffuse tension.
  • Avoid taking sides, power struggles but don’t give in to enemies or attempt to please them.
  • Mind your business and don’t take anything personally.
  • Identify the toxic behavior and the solution for it.
  • Don’t stoop to the level of the perpetrator or please the naysayers.
  • Don’t play the victim or suffer unfair treatment.
  • Ask questions rather than giving answers or have a private chat with an enemy and try to bring them to your side.
  • If you are not in position of power or are not favored at your job, accept it and move on, especially if you don’t know how to maneuver the situation.
  • If excluded from a group, don’t attempt to fit in, just join a new one or leave the place.
  • If you are being openly criticized or insulted, don’t let that affect your self-worth or your work. Agree with the perpetrator without demonstrating emotion.

Principle #7: Change

To handle office politics, one must learn to appreciate change and adapt to it.

  • Stay present, stay resilient and robust to conflicts and change, to your own emotions, to the emotions of others.
  • Learn to deal with change and quickly recover from your blows.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

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