Office dynamics for dummies (includes me!)

What a day! As the evening ends and the India-Pakistan cricket match does not go down to the wire, what with wickets starting to fall like nine pins, I sit back and reflect on a day when someone tried to challenge my integrity as a professional. I stood my ground to the barrage and in the end received something that was on the lines of an apology for trying to belittle me and an appreciation for the work I did.

I have realised some pretty important facts in managing office dynamics during my seven year professional career. People are out to squeeze the most out of you but the important thing is to stand your ground no matter what. Here, from my point of view and experience, are some strong facts that could help make rather than break a strong professional foundation:

1. Know your work and responsibilities that go with it clearly: Many a time we get into a work profile based purely on the designation provided, the moolah of course, and based on the general job description provided. But in case of the JD, do we get into the nitty gritties of what is required of you? In most cases we just go by the generalised job description failing to ask the right questions. Get to know your reporting heads during the interview stage and never hesitate to ask the right questions (no matter how silly).

Back to cricket – Wahab Riaz is out as I type out this first point.

2. Set your pace and define your output: Once in, you got to set the level at which you operate and immediately set the level of quality of work you deliver. That way your contemporaries and leadership teams are in the know-how on what you can deliver, how you do it and the turnaround time that goes with it.

3. Go by your job description and stand your ground no matter how slight the deviation may be from your JD: When you enter an organisation that is made up of different verticals or is a part of a multi-tier process flow where you have various business heads breathing down your neck, stand your ground and go with the pace you have set.

4. Identify leaders in your organisation who can become your mentors: Make sure you have the right guides to help you out in getting your bearings in the organisation. Identify leaders who matter and are patient enough to impart the right advice. Make sure you follow up on the advice and get back to them with the results. Never hesitate to ask for help.

5. Never get overawed by suits: The big guns may breathe down your neck but as long as you follow the process and never waiver in your commitment to the process, you are safe. Never get cowed down from the brickbats you may face for not being flexible enough with the process. In large organisations, it helps to stick to the process workflow, that you define initially, like a leech. Be polite and respectful at all times, but firm.

6. Maintain values: A clear conscience, honesty, transparency, being there for your team and the people whom you manage, always be respectful to the people around you and you will gain their respect in return.

7. Never get personal: This is not about loose talk but about your life. Never talk about your personal life to colleagues however much they may open up to you. In the end you are in a professional environment and face-offs are better off when you don’t know anything personal about the others nor others know about you. Also, a level of respect builds up for you as an individual in such a situation. It’s a matter of never knowing what to expect except professionalism from the individual in question. That makes you unpredictable and such a quality builds a careful attitude and a respectful distance from you.

A lot of the credit for coming out with these details goes to my experience with my earlier company and people who have been constantly mentoring me and providing me the right insights at the right time.

As I write this, India make it to the finals of the cricket World Cup by beating Pakistan. Fireworks and shouts of joy envelop the air. After the way the day went and the excitement of the match I need to call it a day.

Goodnight and Good Luck India.

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