Loosing A Political Battle

I recently wrote a post about politics in the corporate office (Politico-CIO). I stated that politics was a game with high stakes. Well, in every game there is a winner and a looser.

A recent event involving a friend reiterated to me that loosing a political game is a bitter pill to swallow. It becomes even harder to choke down when you thought you were doing the right thing and in the end you are blamed for it and punished.

I often write about leadership and what it means to be a leader. Where we are all dedicated leaders and competent individuals who are striving for the greater good of the company. In some respects, this my Utopian view of corporate America. In the real world not everyone works to the same level or is as competent as you or I maybe. These are the employees that drag on a company. They are the zombies that add no value to the organization but instead suck the brains out of the living. It becomes even worst when these “zombies” are your chief officers and managers.

The event close to home [I am purposely being vague to protect the people affected] was one such zombie event. Due to restructuring in this firm, an incompetent person became the temporary head of the department. Everyone knows that this person is incompetent and that she tries to cover up her inadequateness by blaming others. Management is aware of the situation but could not do anything about it because the department was in transition until a permanent replacement could be found.

My friend tried to expose this manager by writing a letter to management detailing a recent situation. I cautioned her against writing such a letter stating that this person is politically connected and such a letter might have repercussions. It is best to let this battle go. She felt strongly about the situation and sent the letter. The next day, she was called into HR and reprimanded for the letter’s angry tone and for not supporting this manager. My friend was devastated. She tried to do the right thing but instead she was punished.

Loosing a political battle makes you feel beaten. It is not easy to loose especially when you are right and trying to work for the greater good of the organization. My advice to those out there that have faced or are facing similar problems is this, “Continue on!” You might have lost one battle or several but the war still continues. Choose your battles carefully. If fighting the battle and loosing is too much for you then you should consider moving on. But remember, politics and zombies are everywhere. There is no escaping from them.

2 thoughts on “Loosing A Political Battle

  1. Unfortunately, these situations happen much too often, but they are a part of corporate life. A friend was telling me about a similar situation happening in her workplace and I provided the same advice–stay out of the middle of this one. We’ll see what happens.

    Good thoughts and a good story. -Don

  2. A nice cautionary tale. Fighting the right battle is a skill that comes with experience. Seems to me that IT folks need to often balance this more so. Practice makes perfect. The rule of thumb I use is – does my fight advance or protect the right corporate objectives and strategies? Or, are they on a personal nature? Corporate twits abound everywhere. Some are actually truly destructive to the organization.

    Framing the fight in these terms makes it a lot easier to know when you need to “do the right thing”.

    Thanks for the sharing,

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