Playing the Game

We all know the type. Most of you have worked with and/or for at least a couple in your career.

Most of them excel at fooling the boss into thinking they’re working hard and some even have the audacity to explain to you that “they know how to play the game.”

Your first inclination is to call them out or tattle. Most of you will refrain from this approach knowing full well it won’t do you any good and in most instances make you seem like a whiny baby. (Note: You *are* a whiny baby!)

Here’s the dirty little secret about these “game players.” They’re not stupid. Not by a long shot. And they do some things well that can be perceived by bad management (or perhaps busy management) as valuable.

  • They know how to network and increase visibility with leadership.
  • They know how to appear active and busy. (see: e-mails at all hours, lots of meetings, exasperated sighs)
  • They know how to manage you in pursuit of their own goals and log your successes as their own (or the teams’ with emphasis on their leadership).

Here’s the rub: Life is not fair. Get over it.

Find the silver lining.

Here’s the best advice I can possibly give you:
Stop giving a damn about what other people think and worry about yourself.

Rather than worry about co-workers intent on “playing the game” I encourage you to do the following instead:

  • Maintain your integrity at all costs, even if it costs you and/or your organization business.
  • Take responsibility for your mistakes AND those of your team.
  • Give vigorous attention to each task-at-hand and work your ass off regardless who’s watching — even if your achievements go unnoticed.

If these don’t work, then go to an organization or a company where they will. Find a company full of smart people and great leadership that is making a positive impact on society. Work there!

The truth is that “game players” sometimes win the game they’re playing.

Don’t play their game.

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