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01 col CareersOn the popular reality TV show Survivor, contestants are taken to a secluded island and made to “outwit, outplay and outlast” each other until one contestant emerges as the winner. This is analogous to the corporate ‘wilderness’, where employees in an organisation often feel as if they are competing with each other for a raise, promotion or maybe even to stay employed.

So how do you survive in the ‘corporate jungle’?

Here are some tips to keep in mind: 

  1. Never outshine your boss: In The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene writes how imperative it is to make your boss feel comfortably superior: “In your desire to please and impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might inspire fear and insecurity”. Supporting your boss, especially when you are in a meeting with members from other departments, will often see the same favour being returned.
  2. Avoid the ‘Table of Lost Dreams’: Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, refers to groups of unhappy and bitter employees as the ‘Table of Lost Dreams’; according to him, all they are good for is sitting together at a table in a cafeteria and expressing their resentment of authority without doing anything to take charge of their lives. Therefore, avoid unhappy and whining colleagues from infecting you with their negativity.
  3. Invest in the ‘Happiness Advantage’: Shawn Achor, researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage says, “Positivity is the best predicator of success rates.” In his research, he has found a simple dose of positive thinking to boost sales revenues and accurate decision making and reduce turnover rates and health care costs, essentially “optimising performance”.
  4. Use labels with caution: According to Diana Mcclain, author of The Elephant in the Room:How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and Organizations, once you have labelled employees based on their habits, you decide to forego any interest in what makes that person tick. So, establish relationships with all your colleagues, irrespective of their history or position in the company – it will help you gain a deeper understanding of the environment you work in.

– Jason Pereira
The writer is an HR professional at a multinational company.