The Rules of Work: A definitive code for personal success, 4th edition

  • Richard Templar

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A definitive code for personal success


The Rules of Work is an eye-opener for all those who would like to rise to the top, but don’t seem to be able to find the map.’

Sir Antony Jay, author of Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minster, and founder of Video Arts


For some people, work is a breeze. They glide effortlessly onwards and upwards, always saying and doing the right thing, getting paid more, getting promotions, getting results.


Is there something successful people know that we don’t? You bet there is. They know the Rules of work.


These Rules are the guiding principles that will improve what you do and how you do it. They will give you the unmistakable air of confidence that will win you admiration, respect, and help you towards your next promotion. In this new edition of the international bestseller, Richard Templar has added 10 new Rules to help you get heard, noticed, acknowledged and followed.


To get ahead and stay on top, you need The Rules of Work.

Table of contents





Walk your talk

1 Get your work noticed

2 Never stand still

3 Volunteer carefully

4 Carve out a niche for yourself

5 Under promise and over deliver

6 Learn to ask why

7 Be 100 per cent committed

8 Learn from others’ mistakes

9 Enjoy what you are doing

10 Develop the right attitude

11 Be passionate but don’t kill yourself

12 Manage your energy

13 Never let anyone know how hard you work

14 Keep your home life at home


Know that you’re being judged at all times

15 Cultivate a smile

16 No limp fish – develop the perfect handshake

17 Exude confidence and energy

18 Develop a style that gets you noticed

19 Pay attention to personal grooming

20 Be attractive

21 Be cool

22 Speak well

23 Write well


Have a plan

24 Know what you want long term

25 Know what you want short term

26 Study the promotion system

27 Develop a game plan

28 Set objectives

29 Know your role

30 Know yourself – strengths and weaknesses

31 Identify key times and events

32 Anticipate threats

33 Look for opportunities

34 Make learning a lifelong mission


If you can’t say anything nice – shut up

35 Don’t gossip

36 Don’t bitch

37 Stand up for others

38 Compliment people sincerely

39 Be cheerful and positive

40 Ask questions

41 Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

42 Don’t swear

43 Be a good listener

44 Only speak sense


Look after yourself

45 Know the ethics of your industry

46 Know the legalities of your industry

47 Set personal standards

48 Never lie

49 Never cover up for anyone else

50 Keep records

51 Know the difference between the truth and the whole truth

52 Cultivate your support/contacts/friends

53 Date with caution

54 Understand others’ motives

55 Assume everyone else is playing by different rules

56 Keep the faith

57 Put things in perspective


Blend in

58 Know the corporate culture

59 Speak the language

60 Dress up or down accordingly

61 Be adaptable in your dealings with different people

62 Make your boss look good

63 Know where to hang out, and when

64 Understand the social protocols

65 Know the rules about authority

66 Know the rules about the office hierarchy

67 Never disapprove of others

68 Understand the herd mentality


Act one step ahead

69 Dress one step ahead

70 Talk one step ahead

71 Act one step ahead

72 Think one step ahead

73 Address corporate issues and problems

74 Make your company better for having you there

75 Talk of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’

76 Walk the walk

77 Spend more time with senior staff

78 Get people to assume you have already made the step

79 Prepare for the step after next


Cultivate diplomacy

80 Ask questions in times of conflict

81 Don’t take sides

82 Know when to keep your opinions to yourself

83 Be conciliatory

84 Never lose your temper

85 Never get personal

86 Know how to handle other people’s anger

87 Stand your ground

88 Be objective about the situation


Know the system – and milk it

89 Know all the unspoken rules of office life

90 Know what to call everyone

91 Know when to stay late and when to go early

92 Know the theft or perks rule

93 Identify the people who count

94 Be on the right side of the people who count

95 Be well up on new management techniques

96 Know the undercurrents and hidden agendas

97 Know the favourites and cultivate them

98 Know the mission statement – and understand it


Handle the opposition

99 Identify the opposition

100 Study them closely

101 Don’t back-stab

102 Know the psychology of promotion

103 Don’t give too much away

104 Keep your ear to the ground

105 Make the opposition seem irreplaceable

106 Don’t damn the opposition with faint praise

107 Capitalise on the career-enhancing moments

108 Cultivate the friendship and approval of your colleagues

109 Know when to break the Rules


The Rules of Power

1 Knowledge is power

2 Be able to walk away

3 Know who you’re dealing with

4 Be authoritative

5 Be likeable

6 Know who you are

7 Be great at your job

8 Get people on your side

9 Be controlled

10 Don’t give it away


Had enough yet?

Published by FT Press (September 17th 2015) - Copyright © 2015