Workplace Politics: Watching Weasels Avoid Accountability

I don’t know about you, but in my Corporate Career (especially as I moved higher up the Corporate Ladder) I have seen more and more unfortunate office and workplace politics.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I respect that Politics plays a very important part in our society and especially as a Senior Manager one has to be very sensitive and aware of political scenarios, what you can say, what you cannot say and of course the feelings of your team and key stakeholders that you work with.

But I am talking about something totally different in this article.  I am talking about the “Lazy Political Weasel” as described quite brilliantly in “Dilbert And The Way of the Weasel”.  If you haven’t got this book, please go and check it out – it’s very satirical, politically incorrect – but extremely accurate at some points! (Check out Dilbert’s Site).

Of my working career I have worked with a range of people.  Some are extremely competent, trustworthy, passionate, intelligent, caring, self-improving and accoutable people.

Some are just simply not.  You often hear lines in that “We Assess On Results”, “Everyone is Treated Equally”, “Everyone is assessed on the same KPI’s” – but come on – you know and I know this isn’t always true? Haven’t you seen in perhaps at least one workplace these two extremes:

– A hard working, passionate, accountable and honest individual working for a good wage who get’s dumped on by everyone.

– A political Monster / Weasel who screws things up, doesn’t get results, blames everyone else and just seem untouchable or gets promoted quickly?

Almost everyone I talk to has a story about this and I have a few myself.  Love it or hate it, some people who lack substance really know how to “Manipulate & Play The System” to get what they want. Unfortunately in some companies these people survive but in some cases there is nothing better than seeing these people held accountable for their actions. Many years ago, I worked with a certain manager that honestly sounded like a politician.

They really had a good relationship with the boss and were able to play them like an accordion.  If anything, this person reminded me a bit of President in the Obama in the respect of “Mastered the speeches and the words” but when you look at tangible results they were always “Delayed due to other person / factor X” , “Results are on the way” or I am still fixing up “The problems caused by the last manager”.

Even though this person had it good for a while, they eventually were “Weaselled Out”, was forced to leave their job and could never get back in at a similar level.

It was actually quite sad, even though this person did get what was coming to them – if only they focused more on delivering results compared to manilpulating others they would have had a much more fulfilling life based on “Integrity / Results” and not “Hype / Lies”. My lessons from this are very simple – treat everyone fairly, assess on results and hold people accountable. If anything, it looks like the American Public are going to hold Obama to account.  After all, if you rally up everyone for “Change” and bag the last administration, you better get some results!

* Thank you to David Allsopp from Flickr for the great pic.