Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Rule 57: Know the rules about authority


By on 16:30
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Nigeria's Abuja based Female Politician and Philantropist,  Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo

Who runs your office? I bet it ain’t the boss.  Bosses tend to closet themselves away in their ivory office, leaving the real job of running the business to someone else.  Your job is to identify this person and stay on the right side of them.

I have worked for companies where the real power resided in the hands of a PR consultant, a legal secretary, an auditor, a customer and a junior manager.  In each and every case, the reason why this particular person was really in charge was that they:
·                    Had the ear of the boss
·                    Were trusted by the boss
·                    Carried out a subtle whispering campaign rather than saying anything outright or up front
·                    Had been there quite some time
·                    Were motivated entirely by power and control
·                    Were invariably unpleasant enough to use various tactics to get their own way – no matter what
·                    Were extremely clever, but lacking the experience, qualifications or skill to actually do the job properly.

In each case, once I had made a friend of these people I got on better. To begin with I didn’t spot them immediately. This always caused me problems. I would go to the boss and only later be made to realize I had committed a gaffe by doing so – ‘oh everything goes through Sarah first’, ‘I’ll just run it by Janine first to see if she thinks it a good idea’, ‘Do you want to check this out with Trevor and come back to me?’. 

“I HAVE WORKED FOR COMPANIES WHERE THE REAL POWER RESIDED IN THE HANDS OF A PR CONSULTANT, A LEGAL SECRETARY, AN AUDITOR, A CUSTOMER AND A JUNIOR MANAGER”.

I soon learnt to go to the person who had the ear of the boss first.  Play the game with them and don’t make an enemy of them.  They are the real authority and you should pay them homage.  I know it ain’t fair and you hate it, but until a better system comes along we have to work with what we’ve got.
(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “Knowing the rules about the office hierarchy” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

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