In a recent episode of Taking The Lead, Flowhub’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Stephanie Jenkins sat down with Christina Brady to discuss the challenges associated with office politics and how to navigate them for optimum team performance.

  • Office politics are inevitable, but knowing how to face it head on is key for optimum team performance
  • Flowhub Vice President of Sales, Stephanie Jenkins has developed a leadership framework for personal and professional success that prioritizes neutrality and openness
  • Stephanie shares advice on leading teams while utilizing good politics as well as personal and professional goals to constructively coach team members

Whether it’s a stadium full of Cornell University fans, her own children, or her sales team at Flowhub, Stephanie Jenkins has mastered the art of leadership and creating a thriving environment for all. 

In addition to being a former school mascot and mother, Stephanie is a dynamic and innovative professional with proven success as the Senior Vice President of Sales at Flowhub. 

She’s well-known for Team Leadership and Mentoring, having managed a team of more than 150 people. On this episode of Taking the Lead, Christina sat down with Stephanie to dissect her leadership advice.

Facilitate neutrality with openness

Stephanie believes that the most effective way to be a leader in the workplace is to understand the levels of office politics, yet remain neutral. She breaks office politics into two sections “the good one and the bad one.”

Stephanie depicts good politics as in it’s your job as a leader to help coach people to play well in the sandbox with one another. And there’s bad politics, which is creating drama in running an organization where it doesn’t feel good to come to work every day ’cause you’re not sure what people might be saying about you or the judgment that they may be passing.’

“I think you do need to lead a lot by example, though as leading a team and leading the organization, you’ve got to kind of follow the rules that you’re putting down for others and creating those rules when there are none.” In a leadership role, it is a two-way street between setting the rules and actually following them. By doing so, a leader establishes an example for their expectations. 

As a leader, creating and following the guidelines are only the first steps. Stephanie believes that as a leader, you’ve got to be really careful to continue to put yourself in a neutral place, so that those things don’t come up and you are not creating drama by having those deeper connections or favoritism.You want to create a team where everyone has strengths and weaknesses, everyone is special in their own ways, and you help individuals meet their goals by capitalizing on their strengths and creating a very neutral space.” And that way, if you create this really safe space, you can actually bring up a lot of feedback and team members feel comfortable bringing feedback to you.

“They feel comfortable, helping to move the company’s direction in whatever way they want to, because they understand that you’re going to take their feedback really seriously.

The willingness to accept and learn from feedback facilitates trust among team members and especially between leadership and subordinates. With Stephanie’s advice for remaining neutral in the face of office politics, it is almost guaranteed that collaboration and compassion among team members will thrive.

Build your own growth brand

Different things can help us grow, both personally and professionally. “Every individual should have a growth plan; the things that they are working on to help them grow. It could be in any role that you’re in. I think learning and developing and continuing to improve is kind of a core facet of who we are as humans. It’s something that we should always be trying to improve on and get better at.”

If a team can understand what motivates their counterparts, they can curate tasks that play upon the strengths and goals of members, along with building up the weaknesses. 

It’s crucial for every person to grow and to improve themselves both on a personal and professional level.  What a growth plan looks like might be different depending on individuals.

“For some people, it might be working on their personal brand inside the office. And sometimes that can look like this: I want to grow my reputation internally. I want to have a good understanding of what other departments might be working on. Or I want to increase the number of relationships that I have internally. When I get a project, I know which stakeholders to go to and I already have those relationships built.”

With an established growth plan, a team can shift their culture to catering to an “eyes on the prize” mentality, always working towards collective goals through intrinsic motivation, rather than constantly focusing on monetary gain. 

This article is based on an episode of Sales Assembly’s podcast, Taking the Lead, which features top female B2B Tech Revenue Leaders, VCs, Advisors, and Icons. Bi-weekly episodes dive into a tactical topic to help listeners (regardless of gender or seniority level) learn how to be better, faster, and smarter as they navigate the craziness of the Revenue world within B2B Tech.