21 Dirty Tricks at Work | Mike Phipps

Summary of: 21 Dirty Tricks at Work: How to Beat the Game of Office Politics
By: Mike Phipps


In today’s competitive corporate environment, office politics and dirty tricks are seemingly unavoidable phenomena. ’21 Dirty Tricks at Work: How to Beat the Game of Office Politics’ by Mike Phipps equips readers with crucial skills to recognize and tackle these toxic tactics. The book explores the nature of dirty tricks, their underlying conditions, and the motives of the players involved. Throughout this summary, readers will learn to stand firm, cultivate their integrity, and take appropriate action when faced with such workplace challenges. With an emphasis on transparency, constructive confrontation, and staying true to one’s values, this summary aims to empower individuals to rise above office politics and create a healthier professional environment.

Office Politics 101

Workplace dirty tricks exist in every organization, and they can cost companies money, cause distractions, and demoralize employees. However, understanding the common conditions that create these situations, recognizing their power, and learning how to manage them can help mitigate their effects. Organizations are inherently political, and being aware of this fact and using a level-head approach can help you overcome any issue you face.

Surviving a Failing Project

Projects can fail, leaving someone to take the blame. This person is often set up as the “fall guy” in a “development opportunity.” When in this situation, treat it like any other turnaround. It’s crucial to differentiate between standard and intended failures and identify your supporters. Decide what you’re willing to accept, and see what your allies can offer.

The Power of Inaction

Effective leaders don’t steal credit for their subordinates’ ideas, nor do they watch them flounder. Doing nothing while in a position of power can be a harmful act, especially when someone has the resources to help. People who do this feel it is advantageous to let the victim fall. Sometimes, powerful people are reluctant to make decisions and waste their subordinates’ time, money, and energy by asking for more research or additional information. Employees should resist when someone offers to guide their ideas or proposals and insis on presenting their own work. If a superior steals your idea, it is thievery, and the victim often feels powerless. However, “once a dirty trick is exposed then its power is dramatically reduced.” In a workplace, political game playing has increased and everyone knows who the powerful people are and navigates accordingly.

Breaking the Code of Indirect Communication

In this book, readers are warned against the dangers of indirect communication. The author points out how people often avoid saying exactly what they mean, creating confusion and fostering ignorance. To counter this, the author suggests specific questions to help readers get to the bottom of what is really being communicated. The book highlights the importance of being direct and clear in communication, particularly in the workplace where politics can undermine success. Additionally, readers are warned against taking on projects without clear rewards or consequences. Rather than relying on implications, employees should ask for specific details to understand what is expected of them. By breaking the code of indirect communication and asking for clarity, readers can better navigate workplace dynamics and achieve their goals.

Tackling Malicious E-mails and Blackmail

The world we live in has opened up unconventional ways of spreading rumors and causing controversy, with e-mail being used as a tool to shame and level false accusations. Politically savvy individuals know the importance of ensuring their e-mails cannot be misconstrued or used against them. If one finds themselves at the center of an e-mail whirlwind, the best antidote is to confront the perpetrator face-to-face or through a phone conversation. However, if the situation escalates and turns into blackmail, it’s best to guard against it by staying clean and openly confessing to the actions. The book highlights the essential steps to take when dealing with these two issues, emphasizing the need to avoid being too quick to engage in battle and ensuring that one doesn’t fight every battle that comes their way. By doing this, you can ensure that you won’t become a victim when similar situations arise in the future.

The Importance of Diligent Reading

In a world where people may hide important information within lengthy reports or presentations, it’s crucial to ask questions and dig for specific answers. This could be a power move by the presenter or author. Feedback is an essential tool for growth, but watch out for malicious feedback which is intended to hurt or mislead. Consider the messenger’s motives if negative feedback leaves you feeling unsettled. Don’t overlook the small details because there could be gold nuggets of information tucked away in verbose or complex reports. Protect yourself, be diligent, and keep learning.

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