Wednesday, 21 November 2018

WHY THOSE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND OFFICE POLITICS LOSE OUT IN PROMOTION AND CHOICE POSTINGS OR EVEN GET SACKED

Anayo Nwosu
By Anayo M. Nwosu
To Deola, I was the right person to pour her heart to. She didn't even come to see me on appointment but had barged into my office and wouldn't allow me to return her greetings when she burst into an embarrassing cry. My neighbour colleague in the adjoining office or a passer-by would think that I was responsible for such a spontaneous outburst. But I was innocent. I was forced to cuddle her closely, holding her so tightly to my chest to feel her pulse and to snuff off further shriek or loud cry.

Only a man that has ever consoled a beautiful lady would feel me here. You would be so wicked a man to let her off your bosom or grip until she on her own distangles herself. In the case of Deola, I was so touched by her sorrows that I kept stroking her back with one hand while holding her firmly to my cologned chest with the other hand that had become as tensile as a rope. The force of my grip leveled her size 36 cupped and standing mammalian glands that I began to feel what she was passing through without a word.

"Oga Anayo, I cannot cope any longer. What have I done to deserve all these back biting, backstabbing and destructive gossip by Ajoke, Tubosun and Adaobi?” Deola opened up as she narrated her catalogue of woes in the hands of her other unit heads five months before the next yearly promotion exercise.

In Banking, as in all other professions, office politics plays a major role on how far a staff can ascend the management level. This is fiercer in pyramidal departments like Operations, Audit, Internal Control, Information Technology, Legal, Compliance and Admin. It is even much critical when the competing officers possess the same requisite paper qualifications and years of experience.

Any worker who desires to move to the top doesn't need only the technical knowhow or to be technically sound to be promoted to management level, the person needs to learn how to navigate his or her way through the mocky waters of office politics orchestrated mainly by other colleagues who are equally interested in the same top position. Therefore, when you’re supposed friendly colleagues start plotting your downfall, don't be alarmed. They are plotting how to rise in the organisation. All you need do is to adopt counter measures to ensure that you mitigate the impacts of their actions or simply insulate yourself.

The intensity of office politics increases as one gets closer to middle management level. At this stage, only a few staff would be moved to become supervisors or managers, the remainder of their mates are either redeployed or eased out. To forestall early exit, the natural instincts of self-preservation would trigger off survival mechanism that breeds distasteful office politics. Staff who were not prepared or who couldn't adapt to the demands of office politics are usually stagnated or eased out of the system. In institutions where staffs are rarely sacked, the victims’ progressions to the next levels are stunted. This makes them to form a choir of complainants or the less privileged.

I have studied many who not only survived office politics but also survived successive administrations with minimal effects on their movements up to the management ladder and hereby pen down a guide for young employees or early victims to learn. It is like a discomforting pregnancy that produces promotion. A staff who has an eye at the top of his or her profession should from Day 1, find out what it takes to get to the top. He or she should strive to obtain all the paper qualifications needed to be the head of the department.
Many departments require specific qualifications like ACA or ACCA for accounting functions, MBA or MSC in Economics or Finance or Public Administration for managerial function, MSC in HR for Human Resources function. Certifications in Information Technology are key to becoming the head of IT dept.

Even with the requisite qualifications for your field, you would be pole ahead of others if you have an MBA. It shows that you are ready to become a manager. Just like "Passing 6 is not passing sense", possession of a paper certificate does not cure character flaws, lack of self-confidence or deficit in Emotional Intelligence which do not need the influence of office politics to make someone a backbencher. An ambitious professional should avoid scandals. He or she should never voice out any negative opinion or criticism against members of the management or the direct boss. Supervisors have a feedback mechanism to monitor subordinates or to gauge their temperature.

Any staff, except the son or the daughter of the company's owner, who openly opposes his or her boss in a general meeting, has his or her days numbered in the organisation. It's a no no. Bosses are corrected either via proverbs or in private. I laugh as some young people make this mistake of making their bosses look stupid in the public just to appear brilliant or to impress their colleagues or his boss’ bosses. It's like taking rat poison.
It was early in my career, that I learned not to be seen with any beautiful girl a senior colleague likes or is planning to like. And because there is no way to ascertain which lady colleague is being liked or about to be liked, I learned to mad my madness outside my organisation.

I had to at one point, denounce even my platonic relationship with a female colleague once I noticed my Oga was looking at her "one kind". Only a foolish male staff would always be seen with any girl Oga pays pleasant compliments to. No me! The mistake of being seen to be farming or planning to farm in Oga's marked farmland has earned some brilliant operations staff a redeployment to marketing functions whereas cocks, they are asked to lay big eggs or meet humongous deposit targets. This quickened their exit from the system.
What about an only son who was punitively redeployed from Operations function in Owerri to a Marketing function in Maiduguri? He did not resume and nobody bothered to find out why he didn’t. He lost his job and the girl.

Nobody, generally adjudged nice to subordinates or extremely compassionate and generous is invited to the middle management via promotion. It's very rare. You would be deemed too soft to handle the cane. You must learn to take hard decisions like recommending your close friends for sack, issuing queries and maintaining a track record of strictness. Executive Management requires a managerial candidate to possess, among other skills, a slavedriver skill to help them extract values from staff.

Deola's case was a bit complicated, she had all the paper qualifications; she also knows her job by the tip of her fingers but she was a straightforward person. Deola would always say it as she sees it. She was too honest to a fault with no taint of eye service. Whatever opinion she volunteered on the open floor was being relayed in a garnished form to her general manager, Mr. Olanike the same general manager who continuously felt deflated as Deola had not been able to decode his coded messages to her. Deola was determined to resign.
She has had it up to the hilt. And I was encouraging her to tag on. We were still discussing when her phone rang. The general manager wanted to see her in his office.

Deola, a 29 years old beauty and a decent lady actually resigned. She didn’t see the general manager until she returned to her desk, typed and printed her resignation letter. Mr. Olanike was pleasantly surprised at Deola's decision. This time around, nobody would accuse him of harassing his subordinate. He accepted Deola's resignation letter. With the Deola's resignation letter in one hand, Mr. Olanike went into unprepared speech. He began to speak while standing until he bent and knelt down not to ask for Deola's forgiveness; not for her frustrations on the job but his inability to communicate what he was feeling for her.

He told Deola that she was his ideal wife and that he didn't know how to approach her for the fear of her saying no. "No for what?" Deola's was stunned by her unapproved response to the most eligible bachelor in the bank. A man people mistake for a black Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mr. Olanike, against the Igbo translation of his name, told Deola he loved her and could bleach his dark colour if that was what it would take him to marry her.

Impossible! Possibilized! Deola's is now the real supervisor of her former colleagues.
She is now Mrs Olanike. In a causal discuss in bed and in the sitting room (the exact places her colleagues had been to service Oga Olanike not for marriage but to please him for promotion, job protection or retention), Deola told her husband the true nature of her former colleagues and your guess as per their fate is as good as mine. In most organisations, the dangerous players of office politics are the first casualties whenever there is a minor or major management change. In life there is always cause and effect for everything.

Therefore, the best way to compete in a managerial race is to remain professional, ensure you have the requisite paper qualifications, don't gossip about the boss or management, maintain a disciplined approach to work and office relationships and pray for luck.
Reading the workers' Bible known as 48 Laws of Power would administer onto you the required deliverance in correct measure.


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