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Be Aboveboard

Networking with people who are above you in your organization can be intimidating. You may feel uncomfortable and concerned that others will think you are bootlicking. You can avoid those negative feelings by getting in touch with your Agenda. Be sure it's an up-front Agenda, not a hidden Agenda. Examples of hidden Agendas are: "I want to snow this person" or "I want this person to like me better than my colleague so that I will be picked for a promotion." These are not Agendas that you would want displayed as headlines in tomorrow's newspaper. If you are only trying to curry favor, you will—and should—feel uncomfortable. People with these kinds of motives are the ones who are accused of buttering up the boss and are scorned by both their colleagues and the boss, to whom their tactics are painfully obvious.

There's a small but significant difference in an up-front Agenda that you would be comfortable showing to the world. You can legiti-mately work from these Agendas, for example: "In this conversation, I want to clearly demonstrate to my boss the level of my expertise on this subject." Or, "I want my fund-raising skills to be visible, so that I'm a natural candidate for the new venture." In both cases, you'd probably feel fairly comfortable communicating your up-front Agenda to your boss or subordinate.


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