We’ve all seen politicking on the national stage at it’s best worst lately – candidates who previously were on the same team pulling out all the stops to make the other guy look bad. But it’s impossible to drag someone else through the mud without jumping into the mud bath yourself. Yes, everyone looks bad. Everyone gets hurt. And the mud slinging can’t be taken back.
It happens in the boardroom too. A big job has opened up and (especially when it’s a top job) there are many qualified candidates who have been waiting for the job for years. But, regardless of readiness, ability, and desire, only one person can fill the job. And yes, the posturing, lobbying, and even backstabbing begins. It’s not just about why Sam should have the job, but why Sally shouldn’t. Any and all dirty laundry is aired.
The difference between politics in the boardroom and politics for government office is that the blood, dirt, and grime stays behind closed doors. Clients and the rest of the world usually don’t know what’s being said. The most visible damage is contained.
But the underlying damage – the scarred working relationships, trust, and even loss of interest in the work, linger. It’s quite impossible to stab someone in the back and expect him or her to be a supporter after the battle is over.
I’d say the world would be a better place if we could all put politics and personal agendas aside, but perhaps there is an element of survival of the fittest here. After all, someone has to be in charge. Someone needs to make decisions. Someone has to rise to the top, and it’s rarely clear-cut whom that role should go to.
What do you think? Is it possible for our political and business leaders to work their way to the top without stepping on others along the way?