Source: This article was originally published on CNBC.
Written by: Courtney Connley, CNBC Make It
Cultivating a good relationship with your boss is key to your success in an organization.
That’s why, when people approach me concerned that they’ve fallen out of their boss’s good graces, I ask them one simple question that helps me assess their use of their boss’s political capital:
“Has your boss had to explain your behavior to anyone lately?”
If so, you’ve used up your boss’s political capital, and that, I’m afraid, is the fastest way I know to make your boss dislike, resent and eventually want to get rid of you—even if you’re great at your job.
Political capital is the goodwill your boss has stored up at the organization by working hard, making friends, doing favors and delivering results. Building this capital is extremely important—it gives your boss leeway to ask higher-ups for opportunities and things your team might need, like buying more time for a project or hiring extra people.
But your boss’s political capital belongs to them. It’s not, a goldmine for you. Even if you are a hard worker, you are borrowing money with a very high-interest rate every time your boss has to dip into the goodwill they’ve earned to excuse your missteps, from being late to making a costly mistake.
Yes, delivering results at work can go a long way—but that’s not the only thing your boss cares about. Because your boss is also managing their own career, and every time you ask them to spend their hard-earned political capital on your account, your successes get pushed back further and further in their mind’s eye.
Eventually, they disappear altogether. And so might you.
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator, and public speaker. Through its online MBA program, the Jack Welch Management Institute transforms the lives of its students by providing them with the tools to become better leaders, build great teams, and help their organizations win.