Years ago author Richard Templar was working as an assistant manager. A manager’s job came open and, because Templar was the most experienced candidate with the greatest expertise, most of the staff supported him for the opening. They saw Rob, his rival for the job, as inept. Templar asked an outside consultant to assess his chances.
These rules are simple and effective, safe and practical. They are your 100 steps to building confidence and creating a new and more powerful you.
“Slim,” the consultant said frankly, explaining. “You don’t walk like a manager.” Sure enough, although Rob was less qualified, he got the job. Templar had to admit that Rob walked like a manager. After that, Templar began to observe the unwritten rules of work studiously.
He saw that managers did have a certain walk, and that they also had a managerial style of dressing and speaking. Some managers practiced the general manager’s walk, and some practiced the regional manager’s walk.
Templar started practicing the general manager’s walk and in three months he was promoted over Rob to serve as general manager. The difference was that in addition to having the walk, Templar worked really hard to do his job well.
This is the underlying rule that governs all the others – know your job well, do it well and be better than anyone else at doing it.
Rules exist in every workplace. Those who learn to use them to their advantage are called “Rules Players.” The rules are easy to learn and they will benefit you immediately. You don’t have to become someone else to use them. But, most importantly, you still have to do your job and do it well to win a promotion. The rules include:
Rule 1: Walk Your Talk
- Get your work noticed
- Never stand still
- Volunteer carefully
- Carve out a niche for yourself
- Under promise and over deliver
- Know something others don’t
- Be 100 per cent committed
- Enjoy what you are doing
- Develop the right attitude
- Never let anyone know how hard you work
Walking your talk means doing your job well. If you don’t master your job, following all of the other rules will be for naught. The rules on walking your talk include:
Get your work noticed – Many workers disappear into their offices, not because they aren’t working hard, but because their work goes unnoticed. That won’t do if you want to get ahead. The best way to attract notice is to transcend the routine. Do something extra. Give your boss an unsolicited report on how things could be done more efficiently. This shows tremendous initiative. Just don’t overdo it, and be sure your idea works. To get noticed, write an article for the company newsletter.
Never stand still – A lot of the activity at work isn’t work. It’s gossiping, talking, socializing and so forth. Most people just work for paychecks, but Rules Players want promotions. Spend any extra time preparing for your next job – essentially, practicing the manager’s walk. Keep moving. Engage in constant “secret learning.”
Carve out a niche for yourself – Find an unmet need in your office and fill it. You might create personal profiles of top customers, master a new computer program or learn arcane accounting procedures. Whatever it is, creating your own niche will take you out of the everyday hum-drum and will elevate you above other workers.
Enjoy what you are doing – Rather than complain about your job, why not enjoy it? Tell yourself work is fun; that is the attitude of successful people.
Never let anyone know how hard you work – Make the difficult look easy. Always look like you’re in control, meet every deadline and never appear to sweat.
Rule 2: Know that You’re Being Judged at All Times
- Dress well
- Cultivate a smile
- No limp fish develop the perfect handshake
- Exude confidence and energy
- Develop a style that gets you noticed
- Pay attention to personal grooming
- Be attractive
- Be cool
- Speak well
- Write well
Others will constantly make judgments about you, based on how you dress, how you speak, the clothes you wear, the car you drive and the like. It’s inescapable. The critical thing is to make sure you’re in control, so their judgments will be positive. Here’s how:
Dress well – This rule must be obeyed. No matter how casual your office is, don’t wear tennis shoes, blue jeans or loud Hawaiian shirts. Workplace attire is not a stage for demonstrating your artistic sensibilities or edgy fashion aesthetics.
No limp fish: develop the perfect handshake – Exude confidence by being the first to extend your hand with a smile and a relaxed, self-assured air. Repeat the names of people you meet; their names are always music to their ears. When you introduce yourself, use your name with the formality of a business card. “Hello, I’m John Walker, Sales Manager,” will get you a lot further than, “Hi, I’m John from sales.”
Exude confidence and energy – How you walk into the office in the morning really matters. Let others struggle in with wan, post-traffic jam expressions. A rules player enters the office with a spring in his or her step, confident that the work ahead will be a mere trifle. Be lively, smooth and in control, but not in a rush.
Develop a style that gets noticed – Attractive people enjoy greater success. Style implies sophistication or class; it will make people pay attention. To develop a personal style, pick one thing, whether it’s Armani suits or a stylish collection of briefcases, and emphasize that element. Always buy the very best clothes you can afford. When in doubt, dress up instead of down. Wear less jewelry, but only the best.
Rule 3: Have a Plan
- Know what you want long term
- Know what you want short term
- Study the promotion system
- Develop a game plan
- Set objectives
- Know your role
- Know yourself strengths and weaknesses
- Identify key times and events
- Anticipate threats
- Look for opportunities 64
Common wisdom says that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Rules Players plot their paths to success:
Know what you want long term – Obviously, everyone should have a long-term plan for success, but many people do not. Select the position you want and study your industry to determine how to get there. Note each step you have to make along the way, whether it’s relocation into the field, assignment to another department or running a certain business unit. Then set short term and intermediate goals as well.
Study the promotion system – Create a promotion chart. Begin with the entry-level jobs in your company, and aim as high as you like. List all the steps involved in rising from point A to point B, including the skills and experience you will need.
Know yourself: strengths and weaknesses – Successful Rules Players want to know the truth about themselves, and they seek it proactively. They honestly evaluate their own abilities. Make a list of your personal pros and cons, and show it to a trusted colleague. Ask for an honest critique. This is not a therapeutic exercise. Your goal is to become more aware of your shortcomings, and to use that knowledge to your advantage, not necessarily to eliminate your weakness – that may be unrealistic.
Identify key times and events – Save your energy and your top performances for key times when doing your best really matters, such as a presentation to the CEO or a tremendous sales opportunity. Refine your timing; strike at the right moment.
Look for opportunities – Opportunities rarely come along. Recognize each one as a scarce opening that won’t remain available for long. If you found yourself seated next to your CEO on a plane, would you be prepared to sound smart and informed, without overplaying your hand? Or would you panic and get so nervous that you blow it?
Rule 4: If You Can’t Say Anything Nice – Shut Up
- Don’t gossip
- Don’t bitch
- Stand up for others
- Compliment people sincerely
- Be cheerful and positive 7
- Ask questions
- Use please’ and thank you’
- Don’t swear
- Be a good listener
- Only speak sense
Your words can cause your undoing in the workplace. It happens all the time. Practice saying only positive things. Follow these rules:
Don’t gossip – Do not pass anything negative you hear along to someone else. If someone tries to involve you in office gossip, look at them blankly and ask, “What’s this got to do with me?” Don’t appear critical of their behavior.
Don’t bitch – Life and work present many unfair situations. However, complaining about them never makes them better. Unless you follow this rule, you’ll lose the respect of others and you could become a magnet for other malcontents.
Compliment people sincerely – Few people can give a compliment well. Practice spontaneous and seemingly unsophisticated compliments. To seem more genuine, be informal. Avoid hyperbole, and follow a compliment with a question that demonstrates sincere interest: “I really like your suits. Do you mind if I ask who your tailor is?” Make certain your praise is not too personal or potentially flirtatious.
Don’t curse – No circumstances justify cursing in the workplace. None.
Only speak sensitively – A single insensitive remark can harm your career. Speak in a way that makes you more trusted. Usually that means talking less rather than more. Avoid any type of sexist or racial remark, even if you mean to be humorous.
Rule 5: Look After Yourself
- Know the ethics of your industry
- Know the legalities of your industry
- Set personal standards
- Never lie
- Never cover up for anyone else
- Keep records
- Know the difference between the truth and the whole truth
- Cultivate your support/contacts/friends
- Understand others’ motives
- Assume everyone else is playing by different rules
As you succeed, you may incur envy and spite. Protect yourself. Study other people’s motives and learn your industry’s accepted ethical standards. Commit to the principle that you will never lie, and don’t cover up other people’s ethical transgressions. Keep records when necessary, and accept the fact that others play by different rules. To look out for yourself, don’t share The Rules with your co-workers. You have divergent motives.
Keep records. It is a sensible precaution. Know the difference between the truth and the whole truth. You may embellish facts but never lie, for instance, to say you are qualified as a software programmer when you aren’t is a lie. To say you are a wizard at software programming isn’t a lie because what you have stated is not a fact a matter of opinion.
Rule 6: Blend In
- Know the corporate culture
- Speak the language
- Dress up or down accordingly
- Be adaptable in your dealings with different people
- Know where to hang out, and when
- Understand the social protocols
- Know the rules about authority
- Know the rules about the office hierarchy
- Never disapprove of others
- Understand the herd mentality
Learning to blend in doesn’t mean going along with the herd. Rather, it means cultivating the ability to fit in well. First, learn the culture that reflects your organization’s values. Listen to corporate and industry jargon; use it when needed. Learn where upper managers “hang out.”
The job, in a way, is an irrelevance…Yes, you have to do the work. And yes, you have to do it supremely well. But your eye should already be on the next step.
Fitting in means learning office protocols. All offices have unwritten rules of procedure, so develop a relationship with someone who can “clue you in.” Your company’s protocols may be as simple as knowing to drink wine or beer, but never cocktails, at lunch, or to show up for staff meetings even if it’s your day off. Observe the office hierarchy: who does the boss listen to? Who runs the office? Never disapprove of a colleague. That would only make your co-workers see you as an outsider or enemy. If the group perceives you as a threat, its members will turn against you.
Rule 7: Act One Step Ahead
- Dress one step ahead
- Talk one step ahead
- Act one step ahead
- Think one step ahead
- Address corporate issues and problems
- Talk of we’ rather than I’
- Walk the walk
- Spend more time with senior staff
- Get people to assume you have already made the step
- Prepare for the step after next
Leaders have mannerisms and traits that distinguish them from the ordinary. For example:
Dress one step ahead – Don’t dress for the job you currently have. Observe and emulate the sartorial splendor of those sitting in the corner offices.
Talk one step ahead – Notice how bosses pause to think before they speak, frequently use “we” rather than “I” and don’t engage in idle chatter. Use their behavior as a model. Try to envision the “big picture.”
Walk the walk – Develop the correct mannerisms to qualify you for the job you want. Observe and practice other people’s savvy moves. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Watch those who are worth emulating and copy them.
Get people to assume you already made the step – If you act like a heavyweight in your organization, people gradually will accept you as such. Your dress, the way you speak and your friendly but serious demeanor all signal that you are a serious player.
Cultivate diplomacy – When things get contentious, asking questions is often better than making statements. Develop a sense of when to withhold your opinions.
Rule 8: Cultivate Diplomacy
- Ask questions in times of conflict
- Don’t take sides
- Know when to keep your opinions to yourself
- Be conciliatory
- Never lose your temper
- Never get personal
- Know how to handle other people’s anger
- Stand your ground
- Be objective about the situation
- Put things in perspective
Be known for your objective appraisal of any situation. Know when to keep your opinions to yourself. Critise actions, not persons. Never get personal as you may lose your respect or even end up being sacked. Put things in perspective.
Smooth rules players move rapidly up the corporate ladder because they are diplomats. They don’t start fights, they stop them. They don’t sit on fences, they mend them. They spread calm around them and others turn to them for advice and inspiration. You too will be a diplomat. You will be known for your objective appraisal of any situation, your impartial attitude and your even-handed dealings.
Rule 9: Knowing the System – And Milk it
- Know all the unspoken rules of office life
- Know what to call everyone
- Know when to stay late and when to go early
- Know the theft or perks rule
- Identify the people who count
- Be on the right side of the people who count
- Be well up on new management techniques
- Know the undercurrents and hidden agendas
- Know the favorites and cultivate them
- Know the mission statement and understand it
If you have been in your job for a while you should have learnt all these rules by now. If new, then these things are waiting to be found out.
Study your company’s systems and take advantage of the opportunities they present. There’s no point working late to impress someone if that’s not part of your company culture. Identify the people who really count. Templar learned this the hard way one day when he found the maintenance man lingering in the regional director’s office sipping coffee. In front of the regional director, Templar upbraided the maintenance man for not being more attentive to his duties. Later, he learned that the man was the regional director’s father-in-law. Scolding your boss’s relatives definitely will not help you get ahead. Know who’s who.
If you are going to move on up, you had better known the ropes. Rule 9 teaches you how to understand the system – and how to milk it for all you’re worth. This rule will have you out-managing the management because you’ll know the system better than they do.
Rule 10: Handle the Opposition
- Identify the opposition
- Study them closely
- Don’t back-stab
- Know the psychology of promotion
- Don’t give too much away
- Keep your ear to the ground
- Make the opposition seem irreplaceable
- Don’t damn the opposition with faint praise
- Capitalize on the career enhancing moments
- Cultivate the friendship and approval of your colleagues
You will not take out the opposition by unlawful means.
Identify the opposition; knowledge is power. Study them closely. Know the psychology of promotion. Don’t give too much away. Keep your year to the ground.
If there’s a promotion going and five possible candidates how do you identify them? And then how do you make yourself the obvious choice? Rule 10 teaches you how to identify the competition. And then it teaches you how to make yourself the favourite without being ruthless or underhand. In fact if you practise this rule really well, you will get them to recommend you, and want you to be promoted ahead of them.
Cite this essay
Rules of the Game. (2019, Nov 24). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/summaryrules-of-the-gameyears-ago-author-richard-templar-was-example-essay