Stephen Covey: The 7 Low-Trust Organizational Taxes – Politics & Disengagement

In an organization, “politics” is defined as the use of tactics and strategy to gain power. Office politics divide a culture against itself by creating conflict with what author Lawrence MacGregor Serven calls the “enemy within” instead of the enemy without.

Office politics generate behaviors such as withholding information, infighting, trying to “read the tea leaves,” operating with hidden agendas, behaviors result in all kinds of wasted time, talent, energy, and money. In addition, they poison company cultures, derail strategies, and sabotage initiatives, relationships, and careers. The indirect costs related to office politics are estimated at 100 billion per year; some observers put them substantially higher.

Stephen Covey

Remember the story I had told you guys about a colleague by the name of Hubert? Yeah, met him for the first time, worked alongside him, and then I was bit by him, the venomous snake. Why would I call him a snake? Simply because he was the one who stopped taking a taxi with me to a company (lightyears away) so he can cut costs for himself. This was infuriating beyond belief, and I told my boss about his insidious agenda and to never allow him to come inside “this” language center. Of course, I was ignored, he came in and wreaked havoc for several months, creating division and gossip around the office. He finally had quit after trying to get me fired because I had podcasts that called out teachers that “fit the profile,” but this type of malice should’ve never stepped foot inside. Give a man one foot, he’ll soon push the door open and let himself in.

Disengagement

Disengagement is what happens when people continue to work at a company, but have effectively quit (commonly referred to as “quit and stay”). They put in what effort they must to get their paycheck and not get fired, but they’re not giving their talent, creativity, energy, or passion. Their bodies are there, but not their hearts or their minds. There are many reasons for disengagement, but one of the biggest reasons is that people simply don’t feel trusted.

Following the end of my teaching career at a particular place that I had been working at for 3.5 years, I lost my energy, passion, and everything for the job. I would say things to my students that would get me in trouble in the long term. I would shrug my shoulders and not do the mundane tasks. It’s almost as if I put a bullseye on my back everyday and wanted them to take me out, and they did. I had been disengaged from teaching at that place for months (since the dawn of the New Years) and I shouldn’t have stayed past 2016 (always leave when you’re at the peak — which sounds crazy). However, I did….and when one of our best salespeople left, along with a forcible firing of a great head teacher, cancer began spreading rapidly throughout the office and forced the best teachers out….to the most amazing journeys of life.

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