When it comes to office politics, consider the sibling factor

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Time magazine’s cover story is How Your Siblings Make You Who You Are. There are a few good tidbits about how your sibling experience affects how you are at work.

Adult life is made up of relationships – at work, in marriage, among friends — and we learn the skills for these relationships through siblings because we spend so much time with siblings during our most formative years, according to Susan McHale, psychologist at Penn State University.

One example is if there is a favorite child (which researchers see in the majority of families) all the kids will use it to their advantage. As in, “Why don’t you ask Mom if we can go to the mall because she never says no to you.” And we end up using the same tactics at work: “You go tell the vice president that we missed our sales goals. He has a soft spot for you.”

Negotiation styles between siblings affect skills beyond the home. If kids have good conflict-resolution skills among themselves, then they will have more success in school. Regardless of race, income and family structure, it’s the style of play that will make the difference in future success.

Favorite statistic from the article: “Kids in the 2-4 age group have more than one clash every ten minutes,” which I read as my older son hit my younger son with Buzz Lightyear.

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