Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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7/28/2014
08:06 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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How To Be An Office Hero: 3 Myths, Busted

You rely on a set of social assumptions to get ahead at work, but some of those assumptions don't match with science.

because they're worried about crossing a social line. So it creates the sense that we should all be more assertive, except the problem is that people who are over-assertive don't know when they are, so the advice could be disastrous for those who are already too aggressive.

To respond to this finding you need trusted mentors and colleagues who can tell you when you've gone over the line. Be too aggressive too often and you run the risk of people not liking you. Worse yet, you won't even know it.

Myth No. 3: I don't have to be liked as long as I'm respected
This is true -- if you have no intention of ever having a job or convincing people of anything ever, especially over videoconferencing or social media. Otherwise, you're going to need to be likeable. A 2010 study showed that the early stages of an interview where likability is measured influences the perceptions of being qualified and the likelihood of getting a job.

And this Wall Street Journal article cites several studies that show it is extremely difficult to persuade people in an argument if the persuader isn't liked. This is especially true if the conversation is held over video conference or social media. Given how much of business is conducted over one or the other, you better start getting ready to shake some hands and kiss some babies.

When you can, have important meetings in person. Likability is less important than the argument in person (probably because most people are more likable by default in person). When you can't, the best way to be liked is to come across as genuine and trustworthy. Authentic stories are especially powerful in remote settings. And remember the lesson from myth two -- find some people you trust to help take a temperature reading of how people actually feel about you.

As you can probably tell, these three phenomena are tightly linked. People like people who keep their promises and know where the lines are socially. Managers often have to do things people don't like, such as making them stay late or giving them a tight deadline. As the second myth showed, no one likes a softy, either. It isn't hard to be an office hero if you spend just a little more time learning about human nature.

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
7/31/2014 | 7:29:50 PM
Re: Some goals are tricky
@Bhori,

Very true. It's like the Army: you don't want to be the head of the troops or the least. Just stay right in the middle of the pack & try NOT to get noticed. I don't think that's a good way to operate but if one doesn't have complaints, then do that well.
Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 7:05:57 PM
Re: Some goals are tricky

In some organizations with too high of a hierarchy, even those simple acknowledgements can go unknown.

@ pcharles: I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately this is the case in many organizations where HR system is either ineffective or purposefully flawed. Line or department head sitting over you, doesn't let your accomplishments or performance recognized, just to keep his position secure. In those environment it isn't wise to spend your time and efforts in over performing but rather finding a better alternative for yourself.

Bhori
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Bhori,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 6:54:01 PM
Re: Inexpensive perk

it's far more constructive to hear something in the moment than six or 12 months after it happened.


@ Susan: Completely agree. I think Intra company social network can do this job well, but it will only fulfil the purpose if it builds up into annual performance score and used as replacement of annual appraisal.

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 4:25:18 PM
Re: Likeability factor
@impactnow- Right. People do have a tendency to get "too busy." I think we need to keep talking about the value of it until people really see that not doing it is worse for them than finding the time.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 3:08:02 PM
Re: Likeability factor
Dave agreed on both accounts. Having people around you that are truly looking after your professional success is hard to find but invaluable once you get them. The issue is everyone is so busy with their own careers they rarely have time to mentor the bench. It's critical mistake for the long term success of any organization.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 12:13:59 PM
Re: No more Mr. Scott
@Joe- I think that's an interesting point about overpromising. I think stretching yourself is a good thing. But serious questions:

1) Is it still overpromising if you deliver? 

2) It might be overpromising to you because it is a stretch, but will anyone else see that?

pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
7/31/2014 | 9:26:56 AM
Re: Some goals are tricky
@David,

Great point. I was just hoping that it gets noticed. In some organizations with too high of a hierarchy, even those simple acknowledgements can go unknown.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 8:14:50 AM
Re: No more Mr. Scott
@David, It sounds like we are on the same page, I just see many who are not.  Maybe not on this thread but in real life I see a lot of IT pros who seem to just throw numbers out to see what sticks.  I try to deliver quickly based on what my department can handle but not so quickly that we're going to have to cut corners.   That's a balancing act that the industry as a whole needs to spend some time addressing.
Joe Stanganelli
IW Pick
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 11:21:15 PM
Re: No more Mr. Scott
The other strategy, which I've used often to success -- overpromise, but then deliver fully on that overpromise.

Coming from a working-class Italian background, the work ethic I grew up with was always: "Yes, I can do that."  And then busting your butt to figure out how to do it, and doing it -- even if you have no idea what you're doing it at first.

Granted, this isn't ALWAYS the best strategy (it all comes down to ROI, after all -- no use in going above and beyond for something that's not going to be worth it), but if you really push yourself, you can do amazing things -- and impress others and yourself at the same time.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 11:16:59 PM
Re: Better
@tzubair: I wasn't very clear, I think (or I'm misunderstanding you).  Apologies.  My point is that by purposely piecemealing things, you're building a stronger relationship with your client/coworker/boss/whomever.
<<   <   Page 2 / 7   >   >>
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