On-the-Job Savoir-FaireKelly Pate Dwyer, writing for bnet.com, has compiled a well-crafted list of approaches (reg req) you can use to win credit for your accomplishments on-the-job and to elicit cooperation from colleagues. The list isn't surprising, but it is a model of wise selection of principles to keep in the front of your mind.
Claim credit in "We" mode If you share credit as you spread the word about something you've accomplished, you'll likely come across more gracefully than if you toot your horn making overly free use of "I".
The Huddle Invite a coworker to coffee or lunch. If you're going to use the occasion to ask for a favor, or for feedback on an idea, explain that in advance; you don't want the other person to think you're the type who operates with a hidden agenda. Start the conversation by talking a bit about the other person's interests and sharing something of your own life outside work. "Casual conversation establishes the rapport you need to speak openly about a work problem or an idea you have. You can also tactfully promote yourself by relaying recent accomplishments in the context of what you’re working on."
The Critical Inch "Dive in and spend most of your time and energy on the company’s most important problem or initiative. If you succeed, the 15 smaller issues you’re charged with resolving become a lot less important to the CEO. Show you’re someone with vision and someone who takes action." But be careful: "Before you do it, you must be confident your effort will make a significant difference for the company. Otherwise, you’ll be that person with the monumental flop who also fell short on a long list of responsibilities."
The Power Reverse Use the time-honored technique of reverse psychology to defuse resistance to an idea you're promoting. For example, suppose "your company’s other offices have installed new software that reduces customer response time. The team in your office is resisting it. Instead of pushing harder, ... say, ‘This software has worked for five offices, but it might not be right for everybody. Maybe this group isn’t ready for it.’ People think, ‘Why isn’t it right for me?’” and are apt to decide they'd like to adopt the idea after all.
The Option "If you’ve got teammates who get defensive when told what to do, give them a choice about how to approach a task or which task to do first. This requires them to think it through, it acknowledges their capabilities, and it gives them a sense of control." But be careful: "Some people want to be told what to do. Watch how people work: Do they like to make decisions, and do they make good ones?"
The Silent Strategy Let colleagues play devil's advocate in response to an idea you present. "Say enough to show you’re receptive ('I see your point,' ...) but don’t argue." Instead, as suggested by a consultant Dwyer quotes, "stay quiet, a lot of times the group or the individual will come up with reasons they should help you.” But be careful: If your audience doesn't come around on their own, redirect the flow of the conversation by asking "an open-ended question like, 'That’s great input. So how can we integrate these suggestions into the proposal?'"
The Chance Meeting Take advantage of chance encounters with people on whom you want to make a good impression. As suggested by a COO with whom Dwyer spoke, "Say an influential leader asks to share your taxi at a conference. Introduce yourself and explain what your job is, who you work for ... Mention a point from the conference you found valuable." Do this briefly, and then let the other person pick up the conversation. Ask him/her questions so that your chance companion ends up with more airtime than you. Be genuine.