Leadership,  Living as a Leader

The Playing Politics Cancer – What Could Cause Me to Lose My Job? Part 4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArrogance, or its sister self-righteousness, almost always leads to the misuse of power and authority (see my last post). Then typically what I call “playing politics” quickly follows behind any misuse of power and authority. And, at SpringHill, playing politics is one of the seven attitudes and behaviors that will ultimately cause someone to lose their job.

What qualifies as playing politics?

  • Creating division by building alliances against others within the organization
  • Endorsing one thing to one team followed by endorsing something different to another
  • Telling people what they want to hear instead of what needs to be said
  • Treating those with more power and authority better than those who have less
  • Working to advance personal agendas while appearing to  advance the organization’s
  • Building and maintaining relationships primarily for the purpose of what can be gained from the relationship

The list could go on but you get the idea.

What all these behaviors have in common is the lack of transparency, duplicity and questionable motives that can so easily become a part of a person’s pattern of work. You see, when people misuse power and authority there becomes an overriding need to hold onto and obtain more of it. When this happens people become vulnerable to the temptation to play politics as a way to accomplish this goal.

In my experience, playing politics can become so ingrained into a person’s work style they may not even know they’re doing it. When this happens playing politics can become a cancer that infiltrates, not just a person’s career, but an entire organization’s work culture. This cancer causes breakdowns in communication, trust, efficiency (people spend more time dealing with politics than doing real work), and leads to ineffectiveness. I’m convinced that it’s impossible for an organization to become world-class if the cancer of playing politics takes hold.

This is why, we at SpringHill, have so little tolerance for those who play politics. It simply gets in the way of us accomplishing our mission and vision.


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