Thought Leadership Blog

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Workplace Power is Up for Grabs!

Tear down the thought of a management "ivory tower."   Workplace power is available to all!

Whenever I hear employees actually criticizing a co-worker for "kissing up" to a supervisor, I either scratch my head or roll my eyes.   The ambiguity of this phrase leads to derogatory interpretation of sometimes highly successful workplace practices.

If this term refers to recognizing and playing to workplace power in an effort to augment one's own career power, then every responsibile individual with a hint of motivation toward self-interest should "suck up."   However, it is certainly controversial to sacrifice one's integrity and core values long term for workplace advancement.  That situation would be a great topic for a new blog entry and needs to be excluded from this argument.
While it's clear that "employers of choice" create teams where employees and employers work together willingly toward clear and collaborative goals, I certainly agree many employers -- and employees -- "miss the boat" here.   Where an employer hears employees derogatorily tossing this term around to incumbent coworkers, an employer must ask "am I doing something wrong?"  The answer could lie in failing to communicate and create an appropriate system of performance outcomes.  The answer could also lie in hiring the wrong people.

Where an employee finds his/herself actually thinking that playing to and respecting power is not beneficial, the employee should re-evaluate his/her own career advancement methodology, goals or work ethic.  That employee might also wish to question if s/he is working for the right employer.

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Jessica Ollenburg - Sunday, July 06, 2008