So in the past month I posted an article titled Connections. In that article, I described how deep routed connections are formed, why they are important, and how to keep them. In this article we will be exploring how testing these connections can be beneficial in the business world arena. Today, we will be combining the skills learned from this past article to one I also wrote in 2019 titled Reading True Intentions to further build your skill set.
Now you may be wondering "Yari, how is this going to benefit me in the workplace? This seems kind of extra." You may be right. I may be overthinking things. Nonetheless, I am still thriving in a highly competitive environment in which my skill set is seen as a threat to those who feel insecure in their positions.
Make no mistake, this skill is important and something that is not normally discussed when we enter the workforce. No one once mentioned that what I say or do, in or out of the work place would be judged and used against me at any given moment. No one said that in order to forge your way ahead, you had to play the courting game. A game so old that it can be dated back to the times of kings and queens. No matter what your superiors say, the fact still remains that this is true.
How will this skill help me?
As previously mentioned, any piece of information could, and would be used against you once you start working. I am sure you have heard of young people discussing online social media use, and how employers monitor it frequently. This is correct. Not only does your employer monitor your platform, but so does your co-workers.
People who are envious are really funny creatures. They will take anything that they can and distort it in such a way that it seems ugly. This I have experienced firsthand. A supervisor requesting me on social media, only to report at work a post was disturbing and does not follow the company values. She forgot to mention that she herself has been part of a group that promotes the same type of dark humor, and often commented, laughed, or encouraged the behavior.
This skill set has helped me eliminate all possible suspects down to the culprit, therefore allowing me to free myself of someone who is secretly negative and sabotaging my hard work. Understand, that identifying the reasoning behind their behavior is a big indicator of how your actions should follow. In this case, the reporting happened after I gained traction on a project, and have been identified as an exceptional employee.
Testing connections allows you to visualize what is going around you. You are able to decipher who you can trust and who you cannot. When you do find those you can trust, they can then become your allies. These individuals are those who you save. You are able to work toward a shared goal, and forge strength in numbers.
When do I implement testing connections?
The best way to implement this is right from the beginning, with random sessions scattered throughout the duration of your employment in a highly competitive organization. This allows you to know who you can turn to in a time of need, and what another person's agenda is. The information that you use should be limited to things that can never come back to hurt you or your image.
Here's a great example:
Some time ago, while I was being considered for a promotion, I was tested by my superiors. My task was to go into the office and retrain someone who, by all standards, has been difficult to work with. While in the office, I meant someone who was newly hired.
All the warning signs were there. She was an individual who liked to gossip, and feed people information. This allows her to work as minimally as she can without being detected, as everyone else around her is too busy clawing each other's eyes out.
I decided this is exactly the right person to plant the seed of information to. I befriended this person (or so it would seem), and we often went out after work to grab a few drinks. I allowed her to think I was drunk, talking freely. I, in fact, was using her to identify who or what would be used against me at certain instances. I fed her truths mixed with some irresistible false gossip that I knew she could not refuse. Then I waited.
As suspected, she bled out the information. She first let her supervisor know, who then turned to HR to request background checks on all employees. Knowing they would find nothing, I smiled and let this supervisor fall on her own sword. She not only drove herself mad trying to figure out what exactly I was hiding, but then enlisted the help of another supervisor.
This second supervisor, thinking she had earned my trust, asked me several questions hinting around that false gossip I had planted. This included if I had a middle name, and sharing her own experiences in which she had broken the law.
Understand, when someone is sharing life experiences with you, sometimes, they just want you to open up and slip your tongue. Do not fall under this spell.
When all this happened, remember, I was being considered for a promotion which I subsequently got. I was able to understand the second supervisor's motive, and that she herself cannot be trusted with absolutely anything. This also revealed that although I can make her look good, I myself cannot look better or she will retaliate in this manner.
You may think that this is extensive. I say absolutely not. This little seed of false gossip served me 2 purposes. One, it allowed me to continue to provide exceptional work without any worry, fear, or distractions. Two, it allowed those involved busy work trying to find something that was never there. You could say that being under such a high pressured environment may be nerve reckoning. You are correct. However, if you work with people that love to dramatize everything, it might do you some good to let them chase an imaginary squirrel, than trying to chase you out of the building.
The Connection Test
So let's talk specifics.
If you want to use this skill, I suggest starting at a low level so you can get a feel of how it works, then work your way up.
In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to play this game with anyone. You would be free to only see the good in people, and allow yourself to open yourself to friendships that are truly meaningful. You still can. However, in a highly competitive market, people will inevitably try to take you down by any means necessary. Retain your image by allowing those who wish you ill to chase ghosts, instead of chasing you.
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Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.