It’s quite common, it’s in fact the way everyone, well; most organisations and people go about it these days, much less individuals.
In as much as it’s true that power is critical in business and career, it is still not as important as performance. This is because power has its limits, everyone’s power is limited to a department, a territory, a duration or a tenure, but performance is continuous, in fact it’s expected to keep improving, it never expires or runs out of fashion.
Within industries today, immediately a new person is appointed into a position of power, almost everyone connected or relevant to that office begin to investigate and check on the person; the profile, preference and personality of this new power broker.
They want to know him, they research his history; they’re interested in his temperament, his character, his experience, his competence, his integrity and pleasures.
Is he corruptible? Does he have a weakness for the opposite gender, or for money? Is he biased on grounds of religion, ethnicity, race or even gender? Is he hardworking or indolent? The gist begin to spread, everyone is asking, wanting to know simply because they want to know how to relate and deal with this new power broker.
Many agencies and suppliers begin to organise and arrange dinner dates, lunch hour meetings and all kinds of treats for this new power broker. Depending on gist gathered about his personal weaknesses, they may at times plan the meeting along the track of his pleasure; sports, drinks, politics or if his a man, women.
They go for the date with their cutest female employees just to impress this new power broker and they do all within their power to be in the good books of this power broker. They engage in personal and unofficial interactions and subsequently strike friendships beyond the call of duty. They establish and build what they believe is a good relationship.
Also, many employees today spend so much time focusing on their bosses to understand the boss. They want to know his weaknesses and strengths, his desires and expectations, his good moods and bad ones, what impresses him and what upsets him, they want to fully understand the boss. They spend so much time trying to comprehend the boss and ensure they do not offend or step on his toes. Their reasoning, decisions and choices are strongly influenced by their desperation to impress their boss; who is of course powerful enough to influence their career journey.
Really, there is nothing wrong in trying to understand the temperament and behaviour of any one you’re working with be it a boss, a colleague or a subordinate. There is nothing wrong in trying to understand your client, agency and supplier, it is a smart thing to do as you will be able to handle the business rapport more effectively.
The gap however is the motive behind this decision and act. Many want to investigate and know the power broker they are dealing with because of their own weaknesses, incompetence’s, poor performances and flaws.
They are seeking to worm their way into the heart of this power broker so that he would easily pardon their errors and many mistakes. They want him to like them, be nice to them and favour them despite their mediocrity and performance gaps.
They want to, unofficially, settle official matters with this boss, they do not want to earn rewards, promotions and pitches; they want to receive it by selection and underser2ved favour not on merit.
People and organisations like these spend so much time playing mind games, playing politics, snooping on other colleagues and competitors and slandering others. They thrive on gossip, bootlicking, sycophancy and desperate inordinate ambition.
They want everything at all cost, security, promotion, more contracts, and benefits without merit, they can do almost anything for the power broker just to remain in his good books.
What they do not realise is, politics, mind games, gossip, slander, the general worship of power brokers in business is a lot of work; very stressful, psychologically demanding, emotionally draining and could come at a cost in time and resources.
Unfortunately, coping and keeping up with this approach can distract completely from the real work and the real purpose of the business and engagement.
Focusing on the boss; the power broker in trying to please and impress him at all cost can actually distract anyone from the work itself; consequently the work begins to suffer; too many errors, too many mistakes, too many slips and you begin to look like you don’t know your job.
Because of this distraction, the person you’re trying hard to impress begin to assume your good gesture is apparently a cover up for your lack of ability and competence when in truth you’re competent, only distracted.
This same power broker you’re struggling to please will become unhappy with you because you’re not performing. At a point he will become tired of your excuses and errors and apologies and he wouldn’t think much of your gifts, kindness, sacrifices and extra miles or personal stuff anymore.
This is because you have prioritise his non priority. His priority is the job, that’s why he’s in that position in the first place. If your non-performance is affecting his own performance; if your poor performance is affecting his results, productivity, and profit, he will deal with you or remove you without remorse or guilt.
He will open up to you sincerely and candidly that he believes you’re a nice person with good intentions but he can’t keep you anymore because you are not competent and competence is more important than intention and good gestures.
Dear friends, the best way to make your client, your boss or buyer happy is to be excellent on the job. Know the job well, do the job well. When you make him a superstar on the job he will love and appreciate you more than anything else.
If you deliver excellently, on time and you add great value to what he’s been appointed to do, you are indeed of worthy support to him.
Yes, you can have a fantastic relationship with the power broker outside the job and unofficially, but it will be a waste and will be misunderstood if you don’t do your job well.
Well, you may begin to think being in the good books of the power broker will give you an edge over competitors and rivals; it may initially but subsequently if you can’t perform or sustain excellent performance, both you and the power broker will suffer and be under serious pressure.
If you strike a friendship with a power broker and you mess him up on the job because you’re too distracted trying to please him at the expense of horning your skills and ability, eventually you will fight and it will eventually be a sad and painful separation.
You will feel all your good gestures and sacrifice for the power broker was not appreciated and the power broker will feel all your good gesture was a cover up for your flaws.
Dear friend, never be subjective in business, do your job, do it well, be excellent, developing a bond, an affectionate or warm relationship with a boss, a client, a customer or a power broker can lead to heartbreak if you’re distracted and don’t focus on your job to do it well.
You see, the power broker will not be there forever, and his territory may even change, what will keep you relevant and upwardly mobile is the quality of your performance and your consistent excellence on your job. Even if you’re unfairly treated and cheated out of a position or business, your excellence will make way for you with other bosses and clients who see and appreciate your good work. If everyone knows you’ve been enjoying unmerited favours in promotion and business, when you fall out with your power broker benefactor, rather than help you, they will mock you. Prioritise performance, don’t be distracted.
Enjoy your day.
Written By : Muyiwa Afolabi