Often times, colleagues are too busy doing their jobs to recognize just how important you are. They fail to get your input on the latest big project or leave you out of a luncheon with your company’s biggest client.
Not only is this frustrating, it’s an attack on your ego and should be taken personally.
Here are ten quick ways to exert your power within your office and gain the respect you deserve from colleagues:
- Always give your two cents on a project whether you are asked about it or not. It’s important that you vocalize why it’s not going to work–people need a voice of reason.
- Don’t reply to emails. If someone needs an answer from you, make them go out of their way to find you.
- Never come to scheduled meetings on times. Making colleagues wait is a great way to let them know how busy you are and how valuable your time is.
- Interrupt meetings that don’t include you. Most likely, there is somebody in the meeting that has information you need about any random situation. Interrupting a meeting to get your information lets them know that no matter what they’re discussing, your needs are more important, even if it’s a printer paper jam.
- If someone is late to work or misses a day, be sure to bring it up next time you’re with them in front of the boss. You don’t have to be serious about it, just a quick, “So what kept you out of the office?” shows that you have a sense of humor too.
- No matter who you’re talking to or what you’re talking about, check your blackberry incessantly. Regardless if you have a text, email, or voicemail message pull it out of your pocket every five minutes to check. And if you get a call, tell them you have to take it, even if it’s your mother-in-law. The best way to let someone know that you are more important than they are is by never giving them your full attention.
- If you get a chance to actually lead a project, micromanage EVERYONE on your team. It’s your butt on the line, so you better make sure they know who is in charge. Ask for hourly updates and excel spreadsheets with status columns, second guess every decision that is not yours, and don’t give anyone due credit unless it’s going to benefit you. [A side note to this rule: don’t put yourself out there too often. Being a project lead is the quickest way to fail at work; and, avoiding failure is the goal.]
- Do your best to get one-on-one time with department heads, chief officers, or anyone in a more powerful position than you…and then tell everybody about it. Whether it’s a shared trip on the elevator or a round of golf, letting people know that you have direct access to real decision-makers gives you a certain amount of power by association. It’s a bit like name-dropping, only more professional.
- Yell a lot and yell at everyone (except, of course, you’re supervisors). This is a must. The louder you can be the better. Some believe irrational outburst are unnecessary and inappropriate in the office environment. Not true. Projecting your anger is the best way in the world to exert power. People know you mean business and will think twice before they cross you again…or even talk to you. Sarcasm also works well in this way.
- If you really want to let people know just how important you are–tell them. Tell them how busy you are, how many voicemails and emails you get a day, how many meetings you have to go to in a week, how often people keep bothering you to do their jobs. Feel free to add in all of your non-work activities. Busy people are important people.
Work is important; and there is nothing more gratifying than knowing that you’re just as important as the people you work with. These simple rules offer a quick and easy route to instant power. If you’re not using them regularly, now is the time to start and see if you can make it to a corner office by year’s end.