Nope. The most likable people get promoted. Your mother was right: Good social skills are crucial to your career. Across the board, people would rather work with someone who is likable and incompetent than with someone who is skilled and obnoxious. As Tiziana Casciaro of Harvard Business School says, “How we value competence changes depending on whether we like someone or not.” Besides, people lacking social grace are perceived to lack other life and work competencies as well. If you are currently invested in this myth, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (Bantam, 2005) is a good guide. It will tell you what you need to know to build and accurately assess relationships. Our advice is to open yourself up to possibilities and explore the greatest potential of your unique personality, learning what you need to do to become more likable.
9. Everyone has sex with co-workers.
Sorry, no. Everyone might think about having sex with someone in the office, but many people allow their forward brains to take precedence in the office setting. However, many of us can chalk up an office romance or two. And why not? The workplace offers opportunity (men and women together), motive (anti-boredom), and geographic convenience (most employees live within a reasonable distance of the office). In fact, 41 per cent of employed Americans aged 25 to 40 have admitted to having engaged in an office romance, according to a joint survey sponsored by Glamour magazine and www.Lawyers.com. Here’s the kicker: Employers had the most problems with office dalliances when the romance involved a manager dating a reporting staff person. And remember, the spectre of sexual harassment is always present – especially once the affair is over. Most important, keep sexting out of the work environment. It is universally banned, for good reason.
8. Office politics is about backstabbing.
Wrong again. Sure, some long knives will be out wherever you go, but office politics can also be about helping people get what they want. Figuring out what co-workers care about, and how to help them get it, obviates the need to strong-arm, disparage, or manipulate them. We don’t mean to say that you can bare your soul to colleagues and expect your confidences to be kept any more than you would expect that in a random group of acquaintances. Jealousy will still rear its ugly head. Use your judgment. Become politically savvy!
Share the Idiot’s Guide to Office Politics or your personal battle stories with young employees. Millennials may need a crash course. Make this part of a mentoring or orientation process so they get off on the right foot.
7. Do good work and you’ll do fine.
Nope. As writer Sam Ewing says, “It’s not the hours you put in your work that counts, it’s the work you put in the hours.” And no one will know what you’re doing in your cube unless you tell them. Let people know what you’re working on and tell them – especially your manager and manager’s manager – about its success. No one else will do it for you. Recognize that self-promotion is an art form; be careful that you don’t oversell. Don’t take credit for someone else’s good work. Give your colleagues the credit they deserve and you will stand out.
6. A great résumé will get you hired.
Not true. Only 10 per cent of jobs come from sending unsolicited résumés. Most jobs come from people leveraging their networks. When you make a connection with a prospective employer, your résumé will simply be glanced at to make sure you have the required skills and to check for obvious problems. Expand your network instead of obsessing over which descriptive adjective best describes your PowerPoint skills. And never lie or experiment with the truth on your résumé. You will be found out and fired. And don’t forget that employers today are checking Facebook pages faster than other references. Make sure yours doesn’t show a side of you that makes you an undesirable hire.
5. It’s better to emulate Donald Trump than to be yourself.