21 Dirty Tricks at Work

21 Dirty Tricks at Work

How to win at office politics (2005)
By Colin Gautrey and Mike Phipps

I think this book is very direct and clear about certain types of tricks, and after reading, you will be amazed of the authors’ capability to translate the tricks into writing so closely.


Dirty Trick 1 : Fall Guy / The Patsy
Assigning projects or tasks that are destined to fail to an expendable manager so that they can be blamed for the failure, and/or reassign favoured employees away from reputation-threatening failure.

Antidote :
1) Brush up your CV and await the inevitable.
2) Confront Machiavelli assertively and seek a constructive debate to move the project forward or kill it quickly.
3) Exert all your skills and work hard to make the project a success against all odds.


Dirty Trick 2: Development Opportunity
The tactic of motivating someone to take on a task, project or assignment they might reasonably refuse, by pretending it as a development opportunity.

Antidote :
Ask questions about the development opportunity – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time scaled objectives. If your boss can answer most of these, then it is unlikely to be a game. Depending on how your boss responds, it is a signpost of what sort of boss he is.


Dirty Trick 3 : Kiss Like Judas
Declaring public support for an embattled project or individual, whilst privately plotting for change behind the scenes : “I am more convinced than ever that Mark is the right person to lead the team through these difficult days.”

Antidote :
Challenge in private, don’t expose in public. Leaders who are playing this game are very unlikely to admit it publicly, so find a way of getting a more private word with them. When you meet with them, ensure that you can find some way of helping them to save face and get out of this situation positively. Remember they probably choose this game because they want to save face over a bad choice they made in the first place. Help them come up with a better plan and a more positive long term strategy. Go into that meeting with at least 3 ideas for them to consider.


Dirty Trick 4 : Bystander
Knowing that someone is in a problematic situation, but standing on the sidelines, doing nothing, when intervention is appropriate and would be helpful to business

Antidote :
Put yourself in the position of the bystander and ask questions about issue example “What good reason do I have for not getting involved?”
When you decide to confront a Bystander, try to adopt a positive attitude and resist the temptation to accuse.


Dirty Trick 5 : Creative Magpie
Exaggerating involvement in the ideas and good work of others, or blatantly stealing them and hiding the originators’ worthy contributions.

Antidote :
If you want to catch them whilst they are still in the nest, try “resist and insist”. However, if they have flown before you discovered your loss you have time to consider your strategy carefully and use “vaccination”


Ditry Trick 6 : Tell Me More
The tactic of delaying decisions or honest disclosure by requesting more work, research or data which often includes the efforts of others.

Antidote :
Ask questions from the manager to judge from the responses whether the manager really supports your idea or project.
– What will it take for you to be absolutely convinced this is a good project?
– What specific critieria will I need to present to you?
– How much time and resource should I direct at this project?
– What is stopping you from giving a “yes” right now?


Dirty Trick 7 : Indirectly yours
Hiding a view or belief by using indirect, obscure and confusing communication in order to tempt or fool someone into declaring their own position first.


Antidote :
You need to know exactly what people are thinking or feeling. Ask questions, lightness and firm politeness are important as you do not want to start a fight.
Dirty trick 8 : Jam Tomorrow
Making vague promises of future rewards to encourage people to take on unpleasant assignments, put in more effort or take greater risks.

Antidote :
You need to ask the person to be more specific of the reward example

” XXX, I am here to do my best for the company so my motivation levels are high, but aside of your hints around Florida, I am curious to know what rewards you are prepared to commit to now.”


About dailytools

I live in Singapore. Out of impulse, I decide to try out wordpress blog, despite having always blog my daily readings on http://bealovecat.blogspot.com for over the past 2 years.

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