This week’s anonymous career advice we received a big question that is a simple one-word answer but requires more explanation and a deliberate decision to be made by you.
Dear focus, a simple question:
Is being visible and playing the game necessary?
A simple but important question!
The TLDR answer is YES!
Unfortunately, it is more necessary than many people realise. Every business I have ever worked in has had levels of the internal political game, some at low-level others it is all about playing the game at full speed.
The Important Truth
The truth that many companies will not tell you or do not onboard you with and empower you with the most important piece of information: How to succeed in this business.
This is months of detective work, asking questions and for many trial and error. This is where you need to build a strong and safe network around you and understand the motivations and drivers of those around you and above you.
Positive Being Visible
There are often times you will think being visible is a negative but actually being visible can be and should be seen as a positive for you, your career and your team.
Being visible often means you are keeping people informed, you are communicating well and you have ideas, insights and feedback (not just opinions) that will progress the company.
These are all important traits that leaders typically seek out.
Where there is often ignorance and gamesmanship towards ‘being visible’ is people who speak out or use group scenarios to speak their mind with opinions, not offering feedback based on analysis and do this to be heard rather than add value. This is not a way to succeed and will often lead to departments losing trust and leaders reducing your voice and visibility.
For those who sit in meetings and like the sound of their own voice or have to add a comment or add their 2¢ these typically are inexperienced or playing the being visible game.
Or sadly seen this work for colleagues who have been promoted or fast-tracked internally.
New Hybrid Dynamics
In the hybrid office being visible has meant something slightly different and newer dynamics have come into play, being heard in the virtual video meeting, making sure your point gets across, presenting as well remotely as in person or for some a level playing field to present with fewer interruptions.
The new hybrid dynamics will be unique in every business especially down to the tools you use, the way you organise meetings, set agenda’s and follow up with the important actions and how sidebar conversations happen now it isn’t straight after the meeting in person. It is important you map this out and understand how this operates within your business.
Playing The Game
Playing the game is something that should not exist but it does and usually is down to the nature of senior managers and the management team rewarding those around them or the behaviours they seek out.
Often leaders have copied their previous managers and believe this is the right way when really this is not and they have had poor conditioning themselves.
Middle management can be misled into following this lead, they can misread situations and behaviours that
It is important to note that even the best leaders can enjoy seeing internal battles and like to see who thrives in this environment.
Management coaching is an important element to career progression and will often lead you on the right career path both internally to your business and externally to new potential workplaces.
Playing the game often leads to internal fighting, disconnected teams from their departments and can be a huge factor in broken company cultures.
Learn The Lesson
One item you have to learn pretty quickly when you are in the executive team or in the weekly leadership meeting, you spent a lot of time working out who is playing what game and how you protect your team and manage to develop your team while navigating many people’s games.
By deciding to play the game or being more visible you should understand the ways you can be successful, you have to understand the internal landscape of what is good behaviours and bad behaviours and how you might navigate difficult conversations and being comfortable upsetting potential colleagues and co-workers to be part of the game. Remember playing the game doesn’t have to be just for personal gain it should be about progressing the company and the careers around you.
Best of luck in your journey with internal games and making sure you are at the right level of company visibility.