Your career is much more than experience, skill set and performance. Those are all very important, but remember how much “people” are involved. Some of the best leaders don’t carry a big stick. They don’t need to be the best performer or the smartest. Think of the best leader you’ve had…they were probably great listeners, cared for people, humble, confident, etc. Instead of thinking of how you can get ahead, pause and ponder how you can help others around you. What will you do to raise the level of your team?
Each week a celebrity couple gets excused from the competition, but is it just me, or are the wrong people getting sent home? When you add “America’s Vote”, it no longer becomes about competence, but popularity. How is this similar to your workplace?
Skills are vital, but politics and popularity rule. Look around your workplace to see who gets “promoted.” In DWTS, the judges play a more objective role, yet the viewers ultimately keep couples around each week. In the workplace, you are judged on more than just performance. How well do you get along with your co-workers? Do you stand out to other department managers? Have you given your supervisors a reason to look your way? Politics and popularity are part of the game. You may want to sit on the sidelines, but I suggest you participate.
Playing the game isn’t about selling your soul or going against your morals. It means your job isn’t just about you. It’s about the organization. You can be the most skilled worker, but if you can’t get along with your co-workers, do you think they will want to help you? It’s important to be socially and self-aware. For example, my wife and I are frequent Disneyland visitors and it never ceases to amaze me how unaware people are in the parks. Whether they stop right in front of a crowd or let their kids run wild, they’re blind to how their actions affect others around them. Today, take a step outside of yourself and think how your actions affect others.