Jeffrey Pfeffer teaches organizational behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and is the author of the fantastic book “Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t.”

I interviewed him about how power works, how you can increase your influence in the office, and the mistakes most people make when trying to get ahead. There are some highlights of his brilliant thoughts.

In order for your good performance to have any effect on your career, somebody needs to notice your good performance. And that requires probably more self-promotion than many people are comfortable with or having at least other people sing their praises.

So while job performance is significantly, in a statistical sense, related to your career success and your salary, the effect sizes tend to be relatively small. And you need to do things besides doing a good job if you want to be successful.

First of all you need to figure out what your boss actually wants.

Number two, you should make sure that your performance is visible to your boss and your accomplishments are visible.

And the third thing you need to do, which is, I think, even less obvious, is you need to build relationships with people in the organization. 

Keep your boss happy.  If your boss is happy with you, everybody will be happy.  If your boss isn’t happy with you, I don’t care what else you’re doing, you’re going to have trouble.




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