Leveraging Past Relationship in the Corporate World the Asian Way


Asian working culture treasures exclusively on relationship and ties in the corporate world, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” that usually boosted one odds for securing the next decent job or promotions. Seniority and ties based rank and file are not uncommon practice widely accepted in this part of the world, however, skirmishes in the corporate world are common as junior peers and subordinates become superiors. Illusion of reaping benefits that arise from having a prior good relationship with new younger leaders of the organization are usually short lived and tensions flared anew when one crossed the line. The old time sake dividend is dwindling sharply right after he or she assumes the new position.

As new superiors were noticeably uncomfortable with older subordinates as the past working interaction may have been respectable, there inevitably have been some close shaves of conflicts in between which represent unfavorably elements for laying down the new ground rules. Fears of the new leader rooted in being perceived in mismanaging in granting favors and being related negatively on old historical events.

As a matter of fact, creating a sustainable and effective leadership in an organization requires establishing of status of authority to facilitate others to recognize and endorse accordingly. Symbolic materialistic possession and conducts offer a clear distinction on who is the new boss on the block, the success of the likes of strong leadership perhaps lies in the deftly blending these elements into a distinctive style of its own; heavier weight ranking in title with higher signatory authority, assigned to a window view corner cubicle in office, entitled to continental brand automobile probably with an assigned chauffer, wear a high end wrist watch, dress like a serious minded and successful professional in ties and suit, staying in prime residential area, dines with all the prominent individuals across the corporate levels, enjoy enviable social status in the community, basically being regarded as one who had made it into the big boy club and circle of influences.

Pre-existing good recognition gives free rein to a new leader to avoid adopting these symbolic distinctions and can afford to be humble and easygoing to enjoy both the respects and friendliness. Whereas one with lesser reputation is allowed to shed the shackles of less than glamorous past images and strike out on their own freshly with the deployment of ultimate power status.

Office workers must navigate strategic shifts in the department with the new reporting structure. To tackle the looming false hopes of being in good hands by reporting to someone with a prior relationship, one should be moderate with a measured approach: 2 suggestions when one is caught in this situation.

1. Think reflecting yourself on a mirror, and almost always what comes to mind are mimicking the same gestures; Simply throw back the same way the new superior interact with you, cold Vs cold, passionate Vs passionate and things will never goes wrong.

2 Be enthusiastic but passively; be yourself just like old time when he or she approach you but refrain from taking the initiative to engage, be cool and neutral to prevent from excessive rubbing shoulder drawing on the past relationship. The bottom line is staying away from openly criticizing the new boss by recounting the past. Who knows you will eventually be in good hands because of your good behaviors as new chief tends to fortify their own foundation with someone they knew who is trustworthy, competence and most importantly respected the authority.

In summary, re-positioning in a new re-organization is uncomfortable but mandatory to stay relevant and out of troubles as there aren’t winners or losers in a corporate world, we all merely survivors drawing salary and come crunch time, all these old relationship seem to have been thrown out of the window if one fails play it right.


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