Playing Politics – Key Players to Impress
Playing politics is one way to advance your career.
Whether you are an employee or a contractor, there are certain truths that you need to know. There are certain steps that you need to take, to get preferment at your company or clients.
First of all you have to identify who the key players are at your company. Identify those who can help your career, or who can help you get contract extensions and rate increases if you are a contractor.
The most important person to keep on board is your immediate boss.
The mistake that most people make is to moan to their immediate boss if they don‘t like the way that they are doing things. That’s whether it is in running a project or on their choice of methodologies.
They may even try and bypass their immediate boss by complaining to the boss at a higher level.
This is a huge mistake. It’s not the right way of playing politics.
Your boss will have far more of the ear of his or her immediate boss than you will. He or she will find it relatively easy to put his or her arguments to their boss than you can.
The big boss is hardly going to come back to you to check to see if what your boss said in his defence stacks up.
Prospects of Promotion
It is far better to get on with your immediate boss as this is the person who will make most difference to your prospects of promotion. Even if you don‘t like what he is doing then the best way to get change is to be ‘on side‘ with him rather than oppose him.
Bosses know that there are some people ‘on board‘ with them and with what they are doing. There are others who oppose them on it. It is far easier to run with those who are for what they do rather than run with those who don‘t.
Those who don‘t agree with them will find ways not to carry out the changes they want to make.
What you must do is to make a friend and close colleague of your immediate boss. If he feels that you are ‘on board‘ with his ideas then he will be far more willing to listen to suggestions for change.
Keep Him in Touch
It would be good if he though of you as a confidante. That is you were able to keep him in touch with the feelings out there on the ‘shop floor‘. Who are for his ideas and who are against. Who is carrying out his instructions and who isn‘t.
Someone like this, who keeps him in touch, is a very useful person to a boss.
The big boss, perhaps the Development Manager or IT Manager will listen most closely to your immediate boss when deciding who to promote or extend.
It is possible to take on your immediate boss and win. However, the scrapheap is full of people who have tried and lost.
The importance of the Business Users to the careers of IT employees or the chance of a contract extension is usually vastly underrated in most IT departments. They are a good opportunity for playing politics successfully.
Those people are the immediate customers of your bosses. If the Business Users are happy with the service that they get from the IT department or from a particular project, than this will be good for the standing of your bosses in the company.
The Business Users also tend to make known to them who they like and who they don‘t. Who gives a good service and who doesn‘t.
If the Business Users don‘t think much of you or the service that you provide then there is a pretty good chance that your bosses won‘t either.
Friend of the Business Users
It‘s usually quite easy to become the friend of the Business Users as well. They are not used to being treated like a valued customer by the IT department. They are more used to excuses and the feeling that the wool is being pulled over their eyes.
All it needs to keep them happy is to be more available and helpful to them. Explain in language that they understand what the problems are.
Treat them like a valued customer of yours.
I‘ve seen it happen many times before where an IT manager was unable to get rid of someone he wanted to get rid of because the Business Users refuse to let it happen.
Give them a good service and they will do their utmost to see that you stay on the project.
Incidentally, if you hear that you are to be moved off the project or your contract is not to be renewed, these are the first guys that you should let know. I‘ve seen it happen before that these decisions have been reversed after Business User intervention.
Incidentally, the same also applies to external customers.
There may even be a greater advantage here in that there may be opportunities at their company for people who give them a good service.
While it is important not to let your immediate boss think that you are bypassing him or her, it is also important that the big bosses at your company think well of you.
Hopefully you would have had some opportunities to impress senior Business users on your project. However, it is also important to impress senior IT management too.
Look for opportunities to get to see them and impress them.
For instance, if you are taking requirements for a new project, as well as interviewing the Business Users, arrange to interview the Development Manager or IT Manager as well to find out what they are expecting from the new project.
Look as if you take them seriously by writing down all of their requirements.
Document it and send it back to them for their approval. Check it every so often to see how you are doing against it.
At the end of the project go back and see them again to see how well you have delivered on their expectations. Make sure of course that you have.
Playing Politics – Ticking Time bombs
There are too many fools in IT departments, contractor and permie, who take on their bosses. They treat the users like dirt, and try to bypass their immediate boss by slagging them off to the big boss.
These people shouldn‘t be out on their own. They are ticking timebombs.
The collective terms for these people are Out-of-Work Contractors and Ex-Employees.
Playing politics must be done correctly.
For more advice click on Career Advice for IT Contractors.
Ad – Contractor Services
If you do need an umbrella company you could try one of the following:-
Or would you prefer to get expert advice about which umbrella company is right for your specific needs? If so fill in the form below and they will be in touch.
For all necessary business insurance, including IR35, try Business Insurance for Contractors