Find 1 dissenting voice in this group, and ask yourself, by what miracle is that possible in a
REAL meeting situation?
First, the old joke. The word Politics comes from Poly, which means many, and ticks, which means blood sucking parasites.
Ha, ha. Now, thats over. Seriously.
Politics is related to the word Policy, which Webster defines as, Prudence and wisdom of management. Additionally, organization management books define Politics as Exercise of Power.
The core of Politics is the Management and the Exercise of Power. Thus, "Good Politics" is the necessary and prudent exercise of power for the purpose of managing organizations and societies, whereas "Bad Politics" is characterized as unnecessary or unwise exercise of power for any reasons.
If Politics is a science or an art, the motives of individuals are irrelevant, only their methods and results matter. "Office politics" is characterized by the spread of rumors and conspiracies of backstabbing, nepotism, bootlicking, and general distrust. Factions arise from the normal chain of command in the organization, and the team environment is broken in the ensuing lack of trust. Rumors and conspiracies are symptoms of distrust and symptoms of "bad politics."
Thus, when I teach corporate training courses on management, or when I comment on politics, I emphasize the sensitivity of managers on the Trust aspect within the organization. I call it the "Confidence" currency in organizations.
It is the responsibility of managers and leaders to conduct "Good Politics," and ensure "Bad Politics" is avoided, so if the Confidence of the organization becomes low, it is the fault of the managers, because no one else is in the position to manage such things.
In general organizational management, there is a behavior theory of leadership, which describes two major styles of leadership. The first is Goal-oriented Leadership, where a leader focuses on the all important goal of the organization, and in which everything else is secondary. The second is Relationship-oriented Leadership, where a leader focuses primarily on the health of organization and the relationship of individuals within.
Goal-oriented leaders tend to appear very strong, tend to appear to know what they want in goals, tend to be self-confident and unilateral, because they tend not to care what methods are used, as long as the desired goal is achieved.
Relationship-oriented leaders tend to appear weak, tend to appear hesitant in goals, tend to desire consensus building, because they tend to care more about being correct in methods more than achieving goals.
Most leaders and managers tend to be either heavily goal-oriented or relationship-oriented.
Goal-oriented leaders tend to work in sales, marketing, and tend to have very domineering type A personalities. They also tend to be more successful in job interviews, as they tend to win more with their self-confidence. Many of President Bushs administration fit well as goal-oriented leaders - aggressive, confident, seemingly clear in goals. Sadly, President Bush himself is neither goal-oriented, nor relationship-oriented.
Relationship-oriented leaders, however, tend to have less aggressive personalities. They tend to not do well in job interviews. Surprisingly however, relationship-oriented leaders tend to do very well in high level corporate management.
Equally surprising, organizations with goal-oriented leaders, though tightly focused on goals and productivity, tend to become LESS productive over time and have LESS organizational cohesion, whereas organizations with relationship-oriented leaders tend to become happier and MORE productive over time.
Well, the flaw of goal-oriented leadership is that one assumes the leader really knows what the goal is, and this goal is really the best goal for the organization. For example, the Iraqi invasion. Was it a goal or a mere step? And whats the method for the goal? Anything goes? When dissensions appear, they are suppressed in favor of the goals. Micro-management sets in the organizations. Leaders not only monitor what is done, but what is said. Rewards toward people are often done according to how much they agree with leaders, instead of how much they do. In the end, political loyalty trumps even the goals.
Generalizations aside, it is clear that even within the Bush administrations own ranks, dissensions were heavily monitored and suppressed. Take, for example, former Bush treasury secretary Paul ONeill and former Bush head of counter terrorism Richard Clark, both of whom were literally pushed aside by Cheney and Rumsfeld, simply because they presented some unfavorable scenarios that didnt go along with the running theme of the White House. In Richard Clarks case, even access to Bush was heavily suppressed by Rice. So to even speak or see Bush, his advisors literally have to agree with his policies.
This created an environment in the White House of essentially promoting groupthink, the mentality where if the leader said to jump off a bridge, everyone would follow, and no one would raise a concern.
Relationship-oriented leaders tend to a bit more humble, realizing that they cannot know everything well enough to know what is the truly best goal for the overall body of organizations. HEAVY debate on issue is not only tolerated, but very much encouraged. These leaders tend to spend more time listening and discussing criticisms, complaints, and concerns, rather than looking over the details. The execution of the details are left to the lower level folks. Dissenting members are even allowed to implement contingency plans, not to go against existing plans, but to prevent the worst case scenario.
The correct method is to allow everyone to participate and contribute actively. That way, diverse goals and plans are exposed into the open, allowing the creativity of the organization to advise the leaders options. But this is also not a one time deal. As goals and plans are being executed, new options present themselves, and thus would require alterations of existing goals and plans.
For all intended purposes, Cheney and Rumsfeld are micro-managers, who, when they have their minds made up, no earthly force is likely to move them. Worse yet, they do not trust the people who work for them. Take, for example, Rumsfeld, who reportedly talked down to many Pentagon generals, and literally interrogated them one by one in his office. Rumsfeld also refused to listen to General Shensekis assessment of a large troop requirement for Iraqi occupation, which is now proving to be more accurate than Rumsfelds assessment. This type of micro-management, literally saps the energy of people within organizations, to the point that only minimal compliance to leaders is the driving force, no dissension meaning no active criticism and no active participation.
To the extreme, dictatorships are goal-oriented leaderships. But dictatorships do not work very well. The myth of the Big Brother type government, that is all knowing and all capable, is frankly, damn near impossible.
Take, for example, Saddam. He feared his own advisors more than anyone else. How could any leader get any work done, if he could not even trust his own advisors? How could Saddam know anything in Iraq, except the bare minimal? And of all the reports Saddam received, how could they be anything but bare minimum of truth, enough for the advisors and generals to keep their heads and paychecks?
Hence, this type of leadership does not work well in America either. The thing is, relationship-oriented leadership is not UNCONCERNED with goals. It is concerned with a different kind of goals. Relationship-oriented leadership has the primary goal of developing the organization and its individual members, and developing the team environment.
Comparatively, this is a LONG term goal, whereas everything else is a short term goal. Short term goals can always be sacrificed in favor of the long term goal. Here, it is a little bit of that ancient eastern philosophy of Confucianism proven correct in modern management and politics.
"Good politics" means good relationships, which makes all work possible. This goes for US as well as for the UN. If the UNs authority is undermined, for the sake of ones goals, then the method has corrupted any possibility of establishing any new world order, since one has shown the willingness to undermine the OLD world order for goals. What authority can the new world order have?
They say George W. Bush has managed a baseball team. Well, it is obvious to me that he has learned very little from his MBA program. The only way that he can salvage his presidency, is if he can alter the bad political environment of the White House itself, but that is unlikely.
Otherwise, even if he is reelected, America would be more divided from themselves and the world. And then it doesnt matter how many countries America can occupy.