Arrogance, 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.43.928283-85.286682
This week I had the opportunity to have lunch with Enoch and Joan Olson. Enoch is SpringHill’s Founding Director and under his leadership the vision, core principles and values of SpringHill were clearly developed, articulated and built into our organization.
I asked to have lunch with Enoch and Joan so I could hear their current perspective on SpringHill, and what they believe God could be calling SpringHill to be and do in the future. As with all my meetings with Enoch and Joan, I walked away with a some helpful and challenging thoughts.
One of the more provocative perspectives Enoch shared is his belief that SpringHill needs to continue to expand its influence in Christian camping, youth ministries and, most importantly, in the lives of young people. This led to the discussion around the question “how does a person or an organization become influential?”
Enoch provided the following insightful answers.
First, we need authority. Not authority which comes from power or position but the kind of authority that is the result of wisdom, knowledge, and depth and breadth of experience in a particular field or subject. The more authority we have in this sense, the more potential influence we can have.
Second, we need to have relationships with others. True influence comes through and in the context of relationships. We gain relationships through networking, and we build relationships through quality time. Quality time means asking lots of questions and doing even more listening. The greater the number and the depth of relationships we have, the more potential influence we can gain.
On my way back from my time with Enoch and Joan, I thought to myself, as I’m sure you’ve just thought, “Wow what a lunch. I may have just been blessed with a glimpse into SpringHill’s future.”43.928283-85.286682