Do Power Players Beget more Power Players?

originally published 9/16/10

Here is another observation about politics in Corporations -- the more people playing politics in the organization, the more politicized it becomes. That is particularly true if the people playing are at a high level in the company.

Why would that be the case?

High level political players raise the ante for everyone in the organization. And Power Players (a term I'll better define in a later post), those people who manipulate the perceptions of others in the organization using politics, raise the ante a lot.

They do this by taking aim at other people either overtly or covertly, and causing them problems -- like damaging their credibility, maneuvering them onto bad projects, or getting them fired. The higher the power player is up the ladder, and the more skilled, the more likely it is that person will be able to successfully accomplish these manipulations. That's how they raise the stakes.

So what are the possible responses to the power player? People can either avoid them, or take them on. When employees develop their political skills in order to take on a power player, it raises the political intensity for everyone.

Kind of a "one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel" situation.