Angie learned how to play the political game in her company. She recognized that her company only had five levels of management. This left little room for advancement. She also realized that the culture of the company did not give plumb assignments to the most competent team members. She saw that management gave plumb assignments to the employees who seemed to curry favor the most with key managers. She observed that management formed project committees to analyze directions and strategy. Committee assignments went to the favorites. Not the most productive workers. So, she curried favor, never objected to poor management, and toed the corporate line. She soon received plumb assignments to key committees.
Importance of Appropriately Awarding Plumb Assignments
As companies compressed their layers of management in the late 70s and early 80s, the concept of upper promotion decreased significantly. Fewer layers of management equaled fewer promotion possibilities.
Being assigned to crucial project teams replaced upward promotion as prestige indicators. Good management assigns employees with the best credentials and experience to the best teams to utilize their skills and contributions most effectively.
Well managed organizations may also use plumb committee or project teams to reward excellent performance, especially if the team assignment involves travel as a benefit.
Consequence of a Spoils System
Many businesses use a spoils system that gives the best, most visible assignments to friends and cronies of the boss, regardless of their contributions or performance.
The spoils system creates several consequences:
- Workers focus on currying favor with the boss rather than performing well
- The same people contribute to all the assignments limiting diversity of opinion or vision
- Personalities, rather than competence, sway the direction of the company
Compensating for No Plumb Assignments
You may need to compensate if you find yourself not getting good assignments or recognition:
- Cultivate better relationships with management
- Communicate your return on investment and accomplishments
- Let your mentor guide you
- Ask “How can I help?”
Monday we highlight how directives focusing on what not to do sap employee direction
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