Selasa, 03 Agustus 2010

How Nice Guys Can Get Ahead

by Robert DiGiacomo, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Conventional business wisdom has long held that the nice guy -- or gal -- won't get as far up the corporate ladder as the cutthroat competitor.

Today's challenging economic times would seem to allow even less room for pleasantries in the business world.

But executive coach Russ C. Edelman, coauthor of "Nice Guys Can Get the Corner Office: Eight Strategies to Get Ahead Without Being a Jerk," believes otherwise.

"The underlying element is balance -- you can't be a jerk, and you can't be too nice," says Edelman, who is a principal in a Boston-based consulting firm. "You have to be assertive and cordial."

Here are six of his strategies for how nice employees -- and their companies -- can finish first.

Warts and All

Rather than trying to seem perfect, being honest about your shortcomings in an interview or on the job can be perceived as an asset.

"People need to maintain a level of awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. It's important from an interview perspective that you can be candid," says Edelman.

Set Limits

You'll earn more respect from your boss and colleagues if you set appropriate limits, while pledging to support shared goals.

"People laud the corporate hero -- the person going above and beyond -- but not corporate martyrs, who have killed themselves and potentially put the business in a compromised situation."

Decisions, Decisions

Don't be so overwhelmed by the number of difficult choices that you make none at all. It's OK as a manager to operate a "selective democracy" in which you take a sampling of views to get input, but don't include everyone in the process.

"Overly nice guys are too enamored with trying to get everyone involved."

The Courage to Speak Up

Learn to find a comfortable place between speaking up about a problem -- and those responsible for it -- and maintaining respect for others.

"You want to be able to demonstrate you have skills to have the 'courageous discussion' and confront and disarm a situation without it becoming very ugly."

Risks Lead to Rewards

Don't be afraid to take a risk by putting your great idea or proposal out there. At the same time, find a way to do so that suits your personal style.

"Are you someone who's going to walk up to the CEO and say, 'This is what I like and this is what I don't like about the company,' or someone who has to float an idea by 60 people? What if you have a great idea and your manager doesn't want to hear it? Do you go around him?"

Win-Win Situation

If you come up with the goods to qualify for a promotion or land new business for the company, accept your good fortune.

"You have a right to win," Edelman says. "So many overly nice guys will compromise their success and their companies' to avoid hurting someone else's feelings. They would rather lose themselves than see one of their friends or colleagues lose out on the situation."

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