Hello SOTGC community,
Several months ago I attended a conference for leadership development with one of the larger divisions in the medical device company I work for. One of the attendees asked a panelist about what to do about office politics, specifically those people that backstab and try to keep you from advancing in your career. The panelist replied with something along the lines of: Like any situation in life, personal or professional, surround yourself with people who come from a place of “abundance” and not “scarcity.”
I thought about this for a while, and still think about that advice. What I interpret her point to be is that you should focus on the variables in life that you can control. Let’s face it, there are always going to be people who do come from a place of scarcity. From a place where they believe that professional security for themselves means holding down those that they feel could be a threat to their job or their team. Those are the people you want to try to avoid. Will there be times in your life where you will have to work for or be in an environment with them? Yes, that’s called life or called “working for a large company.”
However, if you truly want to move forward in your career, as well as help others with their goals, build a support system around yourself that comes from a place of such abundance that you work as a team to support, push, and encourage each other because you KNOW there is enough for everyone.
What roles should these people play and what role should you look to play for others on your “team?” Strong and supportive corporate sponsors (click this link to read about the role of a “corporate sponsor”), mentors who encourage, give constructive feedback, and truly want your professional success (click this link to read about how to pick a good mentor), and trusted advisors who will be your “go to” team when you find yourself navigating the choppy waters of office politics.
Now remember that “abundance” doesn’t mean that you, or they, will give up promotions or opportunities that you want, simply because another person on your “team” wants them. At the end of the day, good, ethical competition is healthy and makes you a more seasoned professional thanks to those experiences. Abundance means that instead of being threatened by the talent and drive of others, you are inspired and encouraged to perform to your best potential because of the example others are setting. And in turn, you will inspire someone around you because of the talent and leadership skills you display. Abundance means that as you hear of openings that you think people in this “team” you’ve created would be great for, you encourage/help/support them on their journey to move into that role. Abundance means that you believe your hard work, savvy political positioning, and support of deserving individuals you work with will all come back full circle and you’ll achieve your goals as you help others achieve theirs.
There is a saying that “like attracts like” and what you put out into the universe will come back to you, both good and bad. As I look at the leaders I admire, both within and outside my organization, some of the characteristics they share are their “pay it forward” mentality and their unending generosity with their knowledge and time.
So what will you do today to start building, growing, or strengthening your team? Will you reach out to leaders you admire and ask if you can grab 30 minutes with them sometime to run some career ideas by them? Will you pick a mentor (or mentors) if you don’t already have them in place? Will you set a meeting with your existing mentor to talk about the next steps you envision for your career? Or will you reach out to others whom you can tell would really benefit from being pulled onto the team you’ve created so you can help them achieve their goals, as others have helped you achieve yours?
I would love to hear from you about your “team building” advice and experience.