In a previous post, I provided a common sense "cheat sheet" with the 7 most useful things for managers to know. Here's another set of shortcuts useful for managers and non-managers alike.

1. How to Earn Respect

  • Be yourself rather than your role.
  • Show interest in other people.
  • Always share the limelight.
  • Dress and groom to match your ambitions.
  • Pause before speaking to mentally frame your thoughts.
  • Speak from your chest without verbal tics or end-of-sentence rises in pitch.

2. How to Play Clean Office Politics

  • Find out what other people need and want.
  • Build mutually useful alliances with those you can trust.
  • Keep track of the favors you owe and the ones owed you.
  • Use your alliances at key points to help achieve your goals.

3. How to Recruit a Mentor

  • Forget official mentoring programs; they're like arranged marriages.
  • Mentors crave to teach people what they have learned.
  • Seek out mentors who have experience and skills you lack.
  • Ask for advice and let the relationship develop naturally.
  • Be kind when you outgrow the relationship (as you will eventually).

4. How to Handle Annoying Coworkers

  • Wafflers can't decide, so force the issue.
  • Conquerors must win, so make them team leaders.
  • Drama queens and kings crave attention, so ignore them.
  • Iconoclasts break rules needlessly, so avoid them.
  • Droners are boring, so find something else to do.
  • Frenemies sabotage, so keep them at arm's length.
  • Toadies mean you must either leave the firm or become a toady yourself.
  • Vampires leach energy unless you stay upbeat.
  • Parasites steal credit, so track who's contributed.
  • Geniuses are all talk, so pester them until they deliver.

5. How to Handle Corporate Lawyers

  • When risk is minimal, leave lawyers out of the loop.
  • Lawyers are not decision makers; they only give advice.
  • Insist that legal gibberish be simplified into plain language.
  • Never rush a lawyer, because it will result in even more delay.
  • If you've got a corporate legal group, find somebody in it to befriend.

6. How to Build a Personal Brand

  • Your personal brand will define how people see you.
  • Get a professional portrait and expunge unprofessional ones.
  • Customize your résumé to match your career goals.
  • Solicit recommendations that are realistic and relevant.
  • Avoid blogging unless you're being paid to do so.
  • Keep your irrelevant opinions off the Internet.

7. How to Shine in a Meeting

  • Treat every meeting as a possible way to advance your own agenda.
  • Decide whether each meeting will be useful or useless.
  • Don't attend the useless ones; prepare well for the useful ones.
  • Take notes so you can speak coherently when it's your turn.
  • Speak confidently and, if appropriate, segue into your own agenda.

Excerpted from the "How to Manage Your Coworkers" chapter of my new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.