A lot of people think that it isn’t necessary to be genuine when you’re in business. In fact, they might even think the opposite: that you’re more likely to be successful when you’re a little cunning or wily. We all see the effects of flattery, backbiting and scheming. It often seems like the way in which you present yourself is more important than the way you really are.
Observing Duplicity in the Office
At your office, you might see people who pretend to be very hardworking. They might get in early in the morning and leave late in the day. But when the higher ups are not around, they’re goofing off or even applying to other jobs.
Then there are people who feign interest in their bosses, asking them various questions and nodding and smiling in response. When their bosses are gone, their true colors emerge and you might find that they actually hate them.
Office Politics vs. Being Genuine
The above type of behavior even has a name: “office politics.” Is the office really meant to be a political arena? Is it every man (or woman) for himself (or herself)? Or can you really get ahead by being genuine?
It seems like people who have their nose to the grindstone don’t really get ahead. It’s the people-pleasers who do. However, isn’t it possible for the same person to do both? Can’t you do the work that’s assigned to you and communicate with others at the same time?
Taking Time Out to Appreciate People
It’s the ability to have inconsequential conversations with colleagues and higher-ups that often aids people in getting ahead. And you don’t have to see it as flattery either. You can give people genuine compliments.
The trick is to say something that you mean. For example, if you don’t like someone’s outfit on a certain day, don’t praise it. It will come across as insincere. Instead, find something else to praise, that you really like.
Follow Dale Carnegie’s Advice
As Dale Carnegie says in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “One of the most
neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation.” And surely there is something about the person that you can appreciate, rather than criticizing and nagging them all the time.
In addition to working hard in the office, take out some time to communicate with others and be genuine in your praise. In the long run, this will be far more useful than flattery in helping you to get ahead in your career.