Politics in IT: Separate the operators from the performers

There's no getting away from politics in the workplace, but you can survive it

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About a month before your review session, send this report to your manager. Explain in a cover note that you thought this outline of the past few months' progress would be a handy guide during the review process. Of course, the operator manager is going to helpfully suggest that you spend your time on projects other than writing up things that the manager already knows all about. Don't be dissuaded. Just say that it was no trouble, because all of this material was generated by your direct reports anyway, as a way to allow you to objectively measure their performance; it was no trouble to gather it all together and send along to your own manager.

Formality is your antidote to operators' behavior, and dispassionately dealing with every exchange with them will serve you well. Even melodramatic, undisciplined bullies know when the evidence is against them.

Yes, these formalities will take some of your time. You'll find, though, that this will be a very small price to pay for making obstacles to your team's achievement simply vanish.

And your team members' recognition and rewards will be undeniable.

Al Kuebler was CIO for AT&T Universal Card, Los Angeles County, Alcatel and McGraw-Hill and director of process engineering at Citicorp. He also directed the consulting activity for CSC Europe. He is now a consultant on general management and IT issues. He is the author of the book Technical Impact: Making Your Information Technology Effective, and Keeping It That Way, from which this article was adapted. He can be reached at ak@technicalimpact.com.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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