There’s no avoiding it, but surprise – you don’t have to backbite or gossip while you’re at it. Here’s five rules to live by.
1. Know Where The Power Really Lies
Your boss might hold the most authority, but who’s the informal leader of the pack?
“Once you know the informal networks in the company and the who’s who, form a good relationship with those who hold the most influence,” says Elin Wong, a recruiter.
But don’t take sides – you don’t want to end up entangled in manipulative power play.
2. Don't Gossip About Management
If you catch yourself complaining all the time, stop it, says accountant Hazel Toh. “It only attracts more negativity.” Rather than being known as a grump, talk less and do more – basically, become known as a problem-solver.
Also, staying professional isn’t just “office-hours only” – after work counts too.
Lynne says: “Watch your words and actions, especially during social gatherings with colleagues where alcohol is involved.” Consistency is key in gaining support from your co-workers.
3. Diasgree By Asking
Never make disagreements a personal attack. Instead of dissing your colleague’s idea from the get-go, start by asking questions about their idea to show respect, suggests Femke Hellemons, the country manager of Adecco Singapore.
“This reduces the risk of alienating your colleague,” says Femke. Instead, you’d be helping your co-worker to process his or her thoughts, and they might even end up thanking you for it. Plus, you’re presenting yourself as a team player.
4. Make Yourself Visible To The Right People
To move up the ranks, you have to do more than what’s required of you. But that’s not enough – people also need to know that you’re going the extra mile.
Rather than tooting your own horn, try a subtle approach: “Solicit feedback from various colleagues in key positions on your project. This ensures that you are remembered in a positive manner by key people in the company,” Femke suggests.
“Learn the nuances at the workplace by listening and staying humble and positive,” says Lynne. Don’t just listen, but also empathise with your colleagues, giving sincere feedback where appropriate.
And don’t rat on them if they’ve told you something in confidence – word gets around fast, and your reputation can just as quickly go down the drain.