Every once and a while I’ll meet an exceptional man who I know has not only accomplished a great deal already, but is destined for greatness. King first approached me via this blog years ago and I wrote about our email interaction here some time ago.
Since then, what started out as him taking action to contact me turned into a real friendship where we’ve held each other accountable, collaborated on business and yes, partied and chased skirts from Vegas to San Diego to Hollywood and even Mexico. I’ve written about his incredible charisma and social skills (not to mention insane game skills) and when I say this is a man who will help you, believe me, he is. I’m proud to call King (yes, that’s his legal name) my friend and happy to help him as he explodes onto the internet scene with his blog, vlog and books. He’ll also be joining on me the podcast shortly.
Follow him, be a supporter of your fellow-man and pick up his new book and keep an eye on him. He’s doing big things.
We have all experienced the dynamic landscape of intra-office relationships, also known as office politics. The best method I have found to excel in and enjoy the treacherous office politics is to simply play the game.
There is a distinct difference in playing the game and brown-nosing, so I will ensure I make the line clear.
Many times, when things don’t go the way people want in a professional environment it is because they are not willing to play the game, at all. I consider “playing the game” simply compromising. Instead of doing all things only your way, you are attempting to alter a few things in your attitude, perception, and methods to get along. Playing the game is office politics at its finest.
One easy way to play the game (where you won’t sacrifice your pride) is attending office functions and actually having fun.
In the military we call this mandatory fun and in college our football team labeled it optional mandatory.
Usually, in both instances, the optional mandatory/mandatory fun consists of organizational sponsored events that you are invited to.
However, also in both instances, if you don’t show up, be somewhat social, and act as though you are having a good time, those in command will punish you typically using indirect means.
In college, during the Thanksgiving holiday season, we always had a football game and because of this we were not allowed to go home. As a team we would go eat at Angus Barn a nice steakhouse near our stadium that could fit the entire team and staff.
This dinner is for players, coaches, and staff only, with the exception of the coaches and staff family members of course.
Most of the players did not want to be there and many weren’t shy about letting it be known.
The consensus was it would be phony to act happy that everyone had to be in a place they didn’t want to be, around people they didn’t want to be around during the holidays, while at the same time feeling like the entertainment for the night’s dinner with strangers watching.
One year you could feel the tension in the room.
Between the scowls on the faces of some of the starters, the rude and belligerent behavior around the coaches’ families during dinner, the antisocial posture to the same families, the loud complaints that the food was bad (it was good by the way), and the awkward moment when a decent portion of the team left to wait at the buses only after about 45 minutes.
While this was the attitude and stance of some players, others played the game.
One of those others was none other than Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Wilson.
While it was easy to tease him at the time for brown-nosing, he understood how to play the game. While other players were too tough, cool, or angry to play the game (unfortunately yours truly is included in that crowd), Russell Wilson was walking around the coaches’ tables glad-handing with them and their families.
At one point, and I cannot make this up, he literally picked up a baby and kissed it.
Russ was walking around the room literally, shaking hands, and kissing babies, even when his situation with the coaches quietly was not the best. At the time our behavior and actions felt like a win, however by playing the game some guys could have built the necessary relationships on a personal level to increase their playtime or their marketability of going pro (as a coach stated before, “it’s not what we say to the scouts, it’s what we don’t say”).
Yes, we all just woke up from the bus to the game, but the scowl was consistent for me ha.
Here are three simple steps you can implement right now to play the game, get along, and move along in your organization. Smile more, touch more, ask more questions.
1. Smile More
This is self-explanatory. Just start smiling.
Start showing those pearly whites off.
Smiling is infectious and if you began to do it more optimism will spread around the office and you will become known as that person who is always cool, calm, and positive. Everyone wants this type of person on the team as it improves morale and the attitude around the workplace.
2. Touch More
If you have ever watched a cop show or been around investigators you know that during interviews and interrogations they close the space and remove barriers from themselves and the individual they are speaking to.
In some cases, once they crowd the individual, they touch them on their shoulder, arm, or wrist.
While in an interrogation these methods are sometimes used to make suspects uncomfortable, in an ordinary situation it builds comfort and trust.
Politicians, CEOs, and other people in powerful positions are similar. Observe their handshakes.
With one hand they will usually shake, while gently touching the arm toward the forearm, elbow, bicep, or shoulder area of the person they’re greeting.
A simple touch. You shouldn’t be doing this all of the time, but when you meet someone new, are applauding someone’s methods, or are seeing someone you have rapport with after some time away, that gentle touch subconsciously works to build positivity.
3. Ask More Questions
How was your weekend?
How has your family been?
Any plans for the holidays?
You get the gist of it. Being inquisitive about others is a core concept of playing the game. First, it makes you talk more and talking is the only way you will build rapport and comfort with others. Next it shows you care. These both are characteristics of a team player. Someone who gets it, and someone who is one of us.
What are some easy ways you know how to play the game? Please comment and share below to help others! (Part 2 will be out on Monday)
If you liked this article and want to learn more about ascending in your organization make sure to pick up my new book Capture Your Career: How to Get Any Job or Position You Want in 48 Hours or Less available on Amazon now or click the book cover below.
About The Author
King is the CEO of KRBE LLC, a company designed to help others reach elite levels in their craft. He has served as a Naval Public Affairs Officer as a trusted advisor providing intuitive advice to senior level decision makers on a daily basis.
During his time in the Navy, he was responsible for developing and presenting briefings for over 500 distinguished visitors, including CEOs, International Media, Congressional Delegations, U.S. and Foreign Ambassadors, and senior military members. His two deployments sparked an insatiable desire to travel, currently visiting or working in over 15 countries and counting.
He attended North Carolina State University where he double majored in Political Science and Criminology while earning a scholarship to play football.
His list of military awards include four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Ribbon, Navy Rifle Sharpshooter Ribbon, and the Navy Pistol Sharpshooter Ribbon.
After completing SERE school King was asked, “why were you recognized for your outstanding performance while in the Resistance Phase of SERE,” and he answered, “I honestly don’t know.”
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