The topic of politics in the workplace has come up a lot recently. Most of the people I talk to hate how they feel like they have to suck up to their boss in order to get promoted. They think that the people who get promoted at their jobs only get promoted because they suck up to the boss, or they cry favoritism because the boss likes the person who got promoted. (What a concept, getting leadership on your side is a good idea…)
I’ve definitely seen some people who completely change who they are and how they act when the boss shows up as opposed to when the boss isn’t there. I have been guilty of it myself a few times. There are also people who aren’t willing to flex their behavior/perspective to that of leadership and they call it staying true to who they are.
There’s problems when you go to either extreme. No one likes a suck up, and they’re rarely respected in the workplace.
The person who isn’t willing to flex to leadership and adapt is only seen as stubborn and they become an obstacle instead of an asset.
There should be a balance between staying true to who we are, and flexing to leadership’s preference. There’s things that you should hold onto with a closed fist, and there’s things that you should be open to change based on who you’re working for/with. Standing up for what you believe is right and good, but at times it makes more sense to drop your perspective and adapt to what leadership wants to happen even if you don’t agree. Adapting to change can be very valuable, but there’s times when you should hold your ground and state what you think, even if you step on some toes in the process.
The challenge is figuring out the correct response in each circumstance. I imagine the ability to figure that out will only come through time and experience.