Byron's Babbles

Stop Playing Games

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on May 9, 2022

In a leadership gathering I facilitated this past weekend we did an activity where we recognized leaders who were influential in our lives. A comment that came up on a couple of the influencers was that they knew how to “play the game.” Interestingly, we also discussed how there shouldn’t be a game to have to play. It is a huge paradox that is still causing me a great deal of thought. My problem is, why does there have to be a game? I get it; lots of good things come from the healthy bi-play of ideas and personalities. Good leaders take good advice from the people around them and make better decisions as a result. There is a negative side, though, when we play each other and manipulate.

In the spirit of controlling the things I have control of, the surest way to avoid game playing is not to play games myself. As leaders, we must remember that if we create games and try to manipulate others, those watching will model the behavior they see in us. Thus a culture/community of having to play the game is born and cultivated. I’ve seen it first hand and it is toxic. Thus the paradox: the organization’s culture portrays the internal political game that lies with the organization more than its core values. Even though the organization game or office politics is a negative, I have learned and know many who would agree that choosing not to play the game can actually hurt more than playing the game. Yes, you guessed it, I’ve experienced that too.

Aristotle said, “man is by nature a political animal.” Unfortunately, the political game has a big influence on what happens to us, our projects, and our teams. So, we can’t just ignore the game, but I do hope we strive to eliminate it where we can. Research tells us that employees are less engaged when they perceive there being a game to be played. No surprise there! People are also more likely to quit in that environment, which means to be successful you need to know how to play the game. And round and round we go!

So let’s try where we can to eliminate the hidden agendas and need to play the game. Where we can’t eliminate the game, let’s make sure we play in a way that does not hurt others or ignore others’ rights. It comes down to being sincere.


One Response

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  1. Lifetime Chicago said, on May 9, 2022 at 7:05 am

    Absolutely wonderful….I am finally retiring and the agendas are becoming so much worse. Did share this on Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

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