How To Play Church Politics & Win Pt 2


Part 2: What Are The Rules?

Office politics will continue to be played regardless of what we think, say, feel or do. So, is it possible to play the game without giving up our core beliefs or judging those who continue to play by their own unhealthy rules? The answer is, yes, you can.

Author Daniel Goleman and others would say that having organizational awareness and the ability to read the currents and politics within an organization is an emotional intelligence asset not a liability. Noticing and understanding the politics within our office environment does not mean you have to play the game but you must understand that if you don’t play the game you will end up loosing by forfeit.

Here’s My Unconventional Observation
Playing office politics can be as unhealthy as ignoring them all together

I think of Jackson Browne’s Lyrics to his song “Boulevard”
“They say it can't be won, The way the game is run
But if you choose to stay, You wind up playing anyway, It’s okay.”

What Are The Rules of The Game?
For those who play church politics to get what they want play by a unique set of rules and with one outcome in mind, themselves. Their agenda, their feelings and their emotions are what matters most. The following are five unwritten and unhealthy rules church politicians play by.

1. Fear
It could be the fear of speaking the truth because it might hurt someones feelings or it may be fear of not getting what they want. They may also instill fear in others through being loud, boisterous and using aggressive language and body posture.

2. Blame  
Blaming others takes the responsibility off my shoulders and puts it on someone else. If I blame you then you are responsible to make the change, not me. Blaming you makes me look better and give me an advantage.

3. Control
Trying to control the outcome of my own agenda by passive or aggressive manipulation of those around me. Control is always looking to promote it’s own agenda regardless of those around them.

4. Leverage
Using information that would benefit me and my agenda only. I may even withhold information that would lead others to side with me or I may interject partial information into the discussion when it suits me and gives me an advantage.

5. Manipulation
Wielding a range of tactics to Influence others toward my viewpoint without seeing the merit in theirs.

Example of Church Politics In Action
Let’s say you send an email to your boss asking for an increase in your budget so you can fund an event happening next month on the 15th.

Your email goes unanswered for a week. There are only three weeks left and you have not received an answer to your budget question. You have sent other emails, not pertaining to your event, and your boss has responded to them. You begin to think to yourself, “Did they even get the email? Maybe it went to their spam folder?” So you send it again and still, no response. What happened?

I’ll tell you what happened and I will even tell you the answer to your question. First, the answer is no. The answer is no by “ignoring” your email. It’s a passive tactic that weak leaders use most often by default. “How is this office politics, you ask?”

I classify it as office politics because it falls into the category of “If I tell my staff member no, I may be perceived in a negative way and I don’t want to be thought of in a negative way by anyone.”

Office politicians are usually concerned with how they look or how they are perceived by others. Not what is healthy and not what is truthful.

If you look at the “Rules of the Game” above you will find the rule your boss is playing by. Can you identify it? It’s rule number 3, control. “Control is always looking to promote it’s own agenda regardless of those around them.” If I want to be perceived in a certain way it may be more beneficial for me to “ignore” an email than to answer it directly.

Do you agree or disagree with the 5 unwritten rules?

Is there a rule you could add to the list based on your experience?

Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href="">Mark Strozier</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>