Internal Politics and Trust

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Anja Stubenrauch

Anja Stubenrauch

Founder and Managing Partner at PEAQ Partners GmbH
High performance coaching, entrepreneurial coaching, conflict management, facilitation at management level and support of top executives in German and English. Many years of professional experience in top management, including as CFO and CEO of a start-up company, boardroom experience, specializing in turnarounds, M&A deals and crisis management. Broad industry experience in medical technology, digital media, industry and trade.
Anja Stubenrauch

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Internal Politics and Trust

Generally spoken, internal politics exists due to the fact that it is part of the human DNA.

If you are studying the behaviour of chimps or read Machiavelli, you already know a lot about internal politics. The key question is „who really matters“ in terms of decision-making, power and influence. Surprisingly often there are big gaps between official organizational charts and the real authority and leadership. In a majority of corporations there is a nucleus of leaders who are driving decision-making and actions but they are not in any leadership team.

Whether this is considered as good or bad, depends on how politics are lived within the organization. The key process to look at is communication: If information exchange happens in a honest and correct manner, if it is absolutely clear, who the ultimate decision-making power has, if difficult topics (e.g. the pink elephant) are addressed in a direct and open way, then it is assured that the political process is lived correctly.

The objective of a Conscious Leader building up a culture of trust then means that you fight all behaviours of bad internal politics. Normally, cases of bullying or high fluctuation rates are signalling that mistrust and power games are elements of the culture.

And if you as an employee or as a leader are confronted with bad internal politics there is only one way: address it, make it transparent and be reliable in a way which is called „walk     the talk“. Align your language and your actions, create an atmosphere of credibility and reliability but also keeping every egocentric behaviour low is a perfect approach to regain trust and act as Conscious Leader. In trustful companies like Hilti, a global market leader and a great place to work at, the owner family is fighting any mistrust and bad internal politics, proactively. In 1984, they created a project called „Our culture journey“: they defined clear rules and values that are still lived and experienced today.