Organisational life often ends up meaning that as you become more senior in an organisation you have to start doing the whole polticking thing. In fairness, it’s not just as you become more senior, but also when you are involved in projects which are cross-departmental.
Narratives, myths, anxieties and egos start coming into play that you never knew existed or would have ever thought could make a difference. Some people can’t escape that kind of life-sucking behaviour.
I personally don’t understand it. You choose to act in a way which is disingenuous, build superficial relationships and expect things to be done your way. And not for anything more than, “Oh but this is what the Director wants”.
Those words. Man how I’ve come to fire spit and rain upon them. You don’t know that’s what s/he wants. It’s what you want. And because you’ve been given authority to make the project happen you think you can get in people’s way?
I don’t abide it. I’m not daft enough to know it’s a power play to elevate oneself, but I don’t abide it. I have learned how to challenge it and how to side step it.
For me, it comes down to personal integrity and credibility. The Director wants a piece of work done? Fine, I’ll check the work with him/her directly. Not the patsy. I’ll get direct feedback, know exactly what to deliver and do that. Not what the messenger wants.
In the play of politicking, this doesn’t mean I win. It means I lose. It means that when that patsy is doing other projects I won’t be included because of that challenge. It means I get gossipped about and it means I am not one of them.
I have a thick skin. I’m also wise enough to know that all projects at senior levels can’t be achieved by one person. The Director will know the work I have achieved and that’s what’s important.
When you hear those words, “it’s what the Director wants”, be mindful about what comes next. Some of you will want to play that game and work your way up that ladder. More power to you. Some of you, like me, will want to challenge that and climb your own ladder. That’s a path less travelled.