We’re learning about the ten skills that technical professionals need when they become a manager. Today let’s discuss the importance of getting to know that special person who simply knows how to get things done in the office. And it’s not simple!
Know the Person Who Gets Things Done in the Office!
Who is the super-connected person in your office? This person has power (informally) and knows where the bodies are buried. Everyone probably owes him a favor. Because of these connections, he will have an uncanny way of getting things done. You need to know him.
I learned the value of this special person by accident. One of my staff members, while skilled in some areas was struggling in her current role. It was a rare moment of clarity that I realized that her real skill was in getting things done through organizational connections. She knew everyone’s deepest secrets. She knew who cared and about what; she knew who pulled which strings to get things done; she knew the struggles and successes of everyone on the staff. She became my Chief of Staff. We didn’t have a Chief of Staff position, but we created one to house her skills. She was excellent. And, I learned the value of this skill set.
Who is it in your office? Here are the key attributes to help you identify this critical person. Once you find them, get to know them and make friends.
Knows the staff. Who’s the office joker? Who can you rely on to get something done at the last minute? Who takes longer to get their head around the work? These are all the sorts of things you’ll need to know about your staff. Some employees will work better in an open office where they are surrounded by their peers, whereas others will work best independently in a quiet area. For those who prefer to work on their own, you might have to invest in some cubicle workstations – e.g. https://www.versare.com/shop/cubicles-workstations/. Everyone is different and they will all need to be managed differently to get the best out of them.
Knows how to stay connected. Who is the staff confidant? Who knows the birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, family illnesses, staff worries, hopes and fears? You can count on them to fill you in on everyone’s personal and professional issues and dramas. Pay attention to their intel. This person is your personal staff cheat sheet to keep you in tune with the happenings in the office. You need to know to stay connected.
Knows how to get things done. She not only knows the staff; she also knows the processes needed to get things done inside the organization and the people essential to each step. This knowledge matters because every so often you’ll need to expedite something-or-the-other. You’ll need greased skids and this person has the grease. She already has the relationships and she knows what to say to get your items moved to the top of the list. Jump the line, float to the top and move to the head of the class – that’s what this person can do for you. When you need this, it is invaluable.
Knows the insider political information. Who is in? Who is out? Who is moving up? Who is moving out? These are the political machinations that are at work behind the scenes in an organization. This well-connected person has his ear to the ground and knows the unspoken power players. He knows who has fallen out of favor and whose influence is rising. This information allows you to better position your work within the organization so it is well-received by the right people.
Who is the super-connected person in your office? It’s time to figure that out, take them to lunch, learn their interests and make them a key part of your team!