Office hierarchy is the organization structure through which power, responsibilities and functions are defined and distributed among the management and employees. This impacts how employees navigate within the organization and their scope for upward mobility. It also defines the corporate culture and influences matters such as where one sits, what services and perks one has access to, what decisions you can be part of, etc. Top management and senior officials often get premier office spaces, access to chauffeur-driven cars, etc.
Of late, there has been a big debate on whether top-down hierarchies are needed in offices. Nonetheless, office hierarchies do exist, and it is important to work out and negotiate your place in it. Even if you are not the boss or a manager or not the person with a swanky office, you can still be an influence in your office. Here are 5 steps to help you.
Build strategic relationships: The kind of work relationships you build and people who you build it with gives an insight into how well-connected you are and how much influence you have. Building strong strategic relationships based on mutual trust and respect with senior executives will give you opportunities to register your points of view and ideas with them and influence their decision making. It is not just about how many people you know and network with, but the quality of this relationship that really matters.
Find your voice: Everyone has opinions but not everyone expresses it and even when they do, not all the opinions get valued or taken seriously. Irrespective of your job title, if you can put across your points of view and ideas and be taken seriously for it, you have influence in your organization/ team. Therefore, it is important to find your voice and confidently express yourself.
Is work delegated enough? Your level of influence and your status within the office hierarchy also depends upon your management’s/ team leadership’s willingness to delegate some amount of decision making and powers. Often managers and team leaders do not understand that they can delegate more and get more done.
Opportunities: If you are the go-to person in your team and many opportunities come to your doorstep, it means your skills, talents and knowledge are well-known and regarded by your peers and/ or management. When you receive opportunities beyond your set roles and responsibilities, you must seize them and use them well.
Do you bring about change? If your contributions, ideas, suggestions and feedback bring about direct changes in the product/ service or processes, it shows your influence within the organization/ team. This influence throws light on what you and others perceive as your position in the office hierarchy. You should put your leadership skills to use irrespective of your job title to be an influence in the office space.
Enrol in a leadership course and equip yourself with leadership skills to be an influencer in the office hierarchy.