A friend has a problem with her boss. He feels threatened by her. She’s smarter, more hip to technology and has brought the company substantial business. She’s in line for a big promotion that would likely put her on his level and he hates it.

He has no plans to better himself by learning technology or figuring out new ways to drum up business. He also has no plans to help his underling or support her rise. In fact, he’s trying to give her bullshit assignments and roadblocks to prevent her from achieving as much, as quickly so as to undermine her efforts in a subtle, undetectable fashion.

Avoid Mind GamesShe asked what I would do.

I said this:

“He’s playing a mind game with you. The only way you can win is to not play. You need to document each and every assignment he gives, provide appropriate and professional pushback, explain why that’s counter to your progress, document your desire to help the organization and even provide him credit for the freedom he gives you to be creative on the job and such. If he gets defensive or agitated at the documentation, copying of co-workers, etc., simply explain to him you have nothing to hide and want to ensure that more than just he sees and understands your contribution to the team. If he pushes back more, just be honest. Tell him you suspect he is at least subconsciously threatened by your success and you wish to ensure that the environment on the team remain fair and transparent. If he is uncomfortable with who you are copying or how you are documenting assignments and communications, then ask him who above his position he would recommend the two of you loop in to ensure both of you are given a fair shake come promotion time.”

If you’re in a similar situation, my guess is you went down the list thinking to yourself, “Well I couldn’t do that because …” or “That won’t work for be because …” And to that I say, “Bullshit!” You only make excuses because you don’t really wish to fix the problem.

Interoffice politics, mind games and manipulations only exist if you allow them to. Even with the CEO of your company, you can very professionally and politely say, “I want to ensure that my contributions and ideas are recognized for my professional development. Should I copy HR or someone else in the organization to ensure in the unlikely event anything comes between us, either of us leave the organization and so on, that someone can verify my work, progress and contribution?”

Certainly, it’s more comfortable to do this before there’s a problem. But if one does exist, you should exercise paying the game of no games as soon as possible. The only one hurt by it if you don’t is you.

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