Every year I groan because I don’t recognise half of the so-called celebrities, but the charm of I’m a Celebrity … Get me out of here! is that the celebrities really do grow on you, unlike some other celebrity reality shows I could mention, but won’t.
Putting a group of people together and seeing how they cope with each other is TV gold, not least because we the viewers recognise exactly what’s going on. We’ve all been there, albeit in a slightly different form. The jungle works just as office politics do: the differences between people at work become quickly apparent. Differences in their opinions, and conflicts of interests are manifested as jungle politics rather than office politics. We all recognise this as basic human communication and relationships. And we all get it right and wrong in equal measure, don’t we? It’s fascinating to watch other people (celebrities in this case) doing just that.While I might have guessed that Gemma Collins wouldn’t last 2 minutes in the jungle (malaria and yellow poo being the highlight of her stay), it was sad to see Craig Charles leave as he was such a mischievous figure. I think he would have been a lot of fun and provided a great deal of entertainment. Jake Quickenden (seen briefly on the X Factor this year) has really shown himself to be an alpha male and Jimmy Bullard is hilarious. Michael Buerk and Tinchy Stryder are an unlikely pairing aren’t they? Yet it works. For them at least. I’m not sure what the viewers think yet. So last night Kendra Wilkinson (ex-playboy bunny and now US reality TV celebrity) and Edwina Currie (ex Tory MP and lover of John Major) had a face off. Edwina, typically, poked her nose in where it wasn’t required, listened to half the conversation, got the wrong end of the stick and put her twopennyworth in. Kendra responded with a defensive and foul mouthed tirade that was vitriolic enough to unnerve the rest of the camp mates. This is a great example of office politics.
It instantly reminded me of somewhere I used to work and so today’s blog is about office politics, because let’s face it, that’s all I’m a Celebrity … Get me out of here! is about really. It’s just a group of colleagues transplanted into the jungle.
The rules of office politics
Last in first out? As any sensible new entrant into the jungle realises, you have to create a good impression. It you fail to do that, quite often the last person brought in is also the first person voted out, so Jake Quickenden’s openness and friendliness meant he was an instant hit with the rest of the camp when he came in late. Just as in any office, establishing good relationships and a willingness to fit in needs to happen quickly.
Fitting in often means, initially at least, modifying your behaviour in the company’s best interests. Some celebrities – such as Edwina and Kendra – are obviously less good at this than say Nadia Forde or Melanie Sykes.In the initial stages of joining a new group of workers it makes good sense to watch, listen and learn. Good office politics means noticing just how your new colleagues behave – how they respond to emails, or how they talk to each other, how they dress, what time they arrive and what time they leave, and their behaviour in meetings. These are unwritten rules and are part of the company’s culture. Base your behaviour on everyone else’s. You need to know the rules before you break them.
Ask plenty of questions. If you’ve just joined a company ask questions if there are things you don’t know. This will help accelerate your learning curve but it also demonstrates that you’re interested. Melanie Sykes is great at asking questions in camp. Others prefer to talk about themselves. Remember: watch, listen and learn.
Unless you’re a Jake Quickenden and land on your feet, you really shouldn’t expect to shine straightaway. You need to learn the ropes, and when you can do the job that you’ve been hired to do, then your time will come.
Be open-minded. It’s a new job and it’s a change. It stands to reason that you’re going to be doing things differently to how you’ve done them before. If your expectations are realistic you’ll be able to handle it. Don’t be a Gemma Collins and fall to pieces and have a meltdown just because it’s not how you thought it would be.Get to know everyone. Be like Melanie Sykes – interested, positive and fun. You need to build relationships and it’s never too early to start. Build a rapport with them. Tinchy Stryder, for example, is teaching Michael Buerk to rap and swag. Michael is encouraging him in this endeavour. They’ll both take something away from the experience and Michael Buerk will have some new skills! Be pleasant to everyone! It stands to reason that if you all work for the same organization you should get along. Everyone from the cleaner to the CEO is worthy of a smile and a good morning. You never know when you might need to enlist their help. Jimmy Bullard is such a sweetheart – he has a hug and a kiss for everyone. Who could fail to love him?
Stay clear of office politics. Try not to engage when things get bitchy or the back stabbing starts. It never shows you in a good light, you look small and mean spirited, and it can damage any budding relationships you may have along with the reputation you have tried to build showing how positive you are. Never bitch.
Do your best and take part as much as you can. You should seek out any opportunities available to you so that you can grow as a person and an employee. If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll never improve yourself. Jimmy Bullard for example, faced his fear of snakes in a bush tucker trail and earned the camp ten bottles of booze. Even Kendra Wilkinson managed to improve her score from one star to two stars, although to be fair, it was beyond pathetic. But at least she’s in there trying – Gemma Collins take note! You should aim to be a motivated contributor – always part of the team’s efforts – that way you’ll help lead your company through to success and everyone will know you’re playing your part.Choose how you will react to a situation. Take a lesson from Melanie Sykes and Jake Quickenden. Both of them won ten stars in their bush tucker trials because they were determined to succeed. It didn’t matter what Ant and Dec and the producers of I’m a Celebrity … Get me out of here! were going to throw at them because both contestants were focused on achieving. It pays to override your natural fear of the unknown or new situations and face up to the task in hand. Don’t be a Kendra Wilkinson, putting in minimum effort before walking away, because you’ll look like a pushover. And don’t be a Gemma Collins who doesn’t even try. Choose your reactions to any given situation. What do you want to achieve? The key to success in office politics is to focus on what you want to achieve and be tunnel visioned about it. What are your key business objectives? How do they fit in with the objectives of the business you’re in? You have to focus on your business being successful, because if it isn’t, nobody in the organisation will come out as a winner. By focusing on what you know is needed you will disengage from petty differences and come across as mature and strategic. Someone who can be trusted with bigger responsibilities. Carl Fogarty, Foggy, strikes me as this sort of contestant.
Don’t get personal. This was the cardinal error that Kendra Wilkinson made in the show last night. She attacked Edwina Currie unnecessarily, becoming extremely personal and abusive. Similarly Edwina was attacking the very heart of what Kendra cares about – her children. It didn’t turn out well for either. Yes, there will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach them a lesson, but it really isn’t worth it. Your colleagues will remember how they felt – whether they were humiliated or insulted – and they will not forgive easily. You may need something from them one day and you’ll regret your actions.
Also, bear in mind that 360 degree reviews or appraisals are becoming increasingly popular and used for promotions. This means that people on the same level and those on the levels beneath you will have the chance to appraise your work and personality. You don’t want a reputation as someone who is difficult to work with.
You don’t always have to win. Sometimes giving ground is the best thing you can do. Letting someone else win implies that you are losing but this is not always the case. It is possible that you can negotiate an outcome that is a win for both of you. It can also help you to win allies.That’s the interesting thing about I’m a Celebrity … Get me out of here! It isn’t just the winners who win. This series we have seen that Craig Charles has already won public support even though he has left the jungle. Myleene Klass didn’t win her series but her career went from strength to strength and is only now stalling. Peter Andre was another winner who didn’t win his series and so it goes on. Over to you
The office is a jungle and you need skills and strategies to survive, that’s for sure. Do you have any tips for surviving the office? Share them with us below.
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