Office politics simply involves competition for status or power in a workplace. In schools, office politics simply involves competition for various powerful status or position like position of principal, vice principal, head of school, deputy head of school, head teacher, director, etc.
The competition is so severe in some schools that some of the ‘office politicians’ (teachers) can do anything to achieve their aims. Some of the things or evils carried out by these office politicians include:
1. Sycophancy (“Eye Service”): This is simply the act of being active with work only when you see your boss or people around. Majority of the office politicians are sycophants. They are very active only when the boss is around and become lazy drones when the boss is absent. Sycophants do everything possible to be praised by people or their bosses and to eventually get promoted. They sugarcoat their talk. They give ‘sweet’ speeches, praising themselves, just like politicians do during political campaigns, in order to achieve their aims. They go about gossiping about other people to their bosses in order to earn praise or favour. They destroy the careers of many of their colleagues with gossip in order to get promotion. This is similar to what many politicians do during elections.
2. Condemning the beautiful work of fellow colleagues: Many of the office politicians condemn the beautiful work of their fellow colleagues in the presence of the overall boss. They do this so that they can be considered superior and also to be promoted to a particular position ahead of their fellow colleagues. Unfortunately, the overall boss buys the idea in most cases and sees other innocent colleagues as inferior.
3. Creation of caucus among staff: Desperate office politicians especially those in higher positions create a caucus among the staff for themselves, just like political parties create campaign group. They force many staff members into the caucus with threat and blackmail, e. g. incessant issuing of queries to the staff members. Some other staff members would join the caucus just for “eye-service”. These staff members in the caucus automatically become the footsoldiers for these desperate office politicians. If you don’t belong to that caucus, then, it would only take the grace of God for you to survive in that organisation. No matter how beautiful your work is, it would never be seen as something good. You would be seen as a rebel simply because you refuse to join the caucus.
4. Sack or demotion of innocent staff members: Desperate office politicians especially those in higher positions, sack or demote innocent staff who do not belong to the caucus they created. They see those innocent staff as threats to their ambitions in the organisation. The moment an innocent teacher joins the caucus they created, then, “all his/her sins have been forgiven” in Oshiomole’s voice. If an innocent teacher who doesn’t belong to the caucus is a very dedicated teacher, and they find it difficult to fire him/her, what these office politicians do is to set a trap for him/her. More than 90% of the innocent dedicated teachers whom traps have been set for, would fall into the trap. This is one of the greatest evils committed by these office politicians.
I have seen many innocent teachers unjustly fired. Some were fired simply because they refused to join the caucus. Some got sacked simply because they had misunderstandings or different opinions with some of the office politicians. I have seen an innocent dedicated teacher who found living extremely difficult after he was unjustly fired. He could no longer cater for his wife and kids.
I have seen a situation where a principal sacked a staff simply because he wanted his wife to take up the position of that staff. The principal eventually employed his wife to take up the position. When the principal was asked why he did that, his response was “It’s all about the job.”. I have also seen a situation where a teacher teaching senior secondary students was demoted to the creche by an acting principal! To do what in the creche? When the principal was asked why he did that, his response also was “It’s all about the job.”
There is a reported case of a very competent Mathematics teacher who was employed by a school to salvage the conditions of students in Mathematics in that school in one of the junior classes. About 3 weeks to the commencement of the examination, the teacher compiled practice questions cutting across all the topics taught so far, for the students to practice. He had done that a number of times with the students before then. He did the same thing earlier as holiday assignment for the students during the mid-term break. This is one of the best standard practices to prepare students for Mathematics.
One of the teachers in that school, who is not happy about the presence of the new teacher in the school, secretly collected a copy of the compiled practice questions from one of the students. He secretly made photocopies of the compiled practice questions and secretly took the photocopies to the school management. He tried to brainwash the management into believing that the new teacher was giving the students examination questions in advance. He actually wanted the new teacher fired.
Unfortunately for him, the principal of the school is a Mathematics guru. The principal understands the fact that what the new teacher did is one of strategies of teaching Mathematics successfully. The practice questions were completely different from the examination questions. In fact, there was no single question in the practice questions that was exactly the same as any of the examination questions. So, the principal shut him down.
This same teacher discreetly masterminded the termination of appointments/sack of many innocent teachers in the school with his rat race. He has caused sorrow in many families with his rat race. He used his mouth and antics to destroy the beautiful work of his fellow colleagues, many of whom he met on the job, before the school management all in a bid to impress the director and to be appointed the principal of the school. When he was asked why he masterminded the sack of innocent teachers in the school, his response was “It’s all about the job.” He calls himself “walking 419 genius”. These are some of the statements he has been using to deceive the school management.
This is somebody who should still be in junior school as an assistant teacher learning how to prepare students for both internal and external examinations, by virtue of his inexperience. He is so greedy and crazy about being the principal of the school. He had discreetly and systematically orchestrated the termination of appointments of many innocent dedicated teachers whom he feels would be hinderances to his actualisation of being made the principal of the school. One of the senior management staff whom he met on the job is a victim of this man’s evil machinations.
Unfortunately for this man, he was not appointed the principal of the school despite all his evil machinations against the innocent teachers to get to the position. A principal was employed from outside the school. This pained him so much. From this man’s antecedents, it would only take the grace of God for the new principal to survive in that school, considering the problems he’s going to create for the new principal in order to take over the position from the new principal.
He already started campaign of calumny against the new principal among his footsoldiers in the school. This is exactly how he started with his other previous innocent victims before he successfully nailed them before the school management.
This man once discreetly masterminded the sack of a female teacher. After the termination of appointment of the female teacher, he called the teacher and said sorry to her. He told her he knew nothing about her sack. He told her it was the director of the school that fired her. He painted the innocent director of the school terribly bad in the sight of the female teacher. Meanwhile, he was the one who masterminded the termination of appointment of the teacher.
He psychologically and emotionally attacked and blackmailed the director of the school on many occasions simply because the director refused to make him the principal of the school. Some of the staff left the school because of this man’s evil machinations.
A female victim in the school reported this same man of sexual abuse. According to the female, the man demanded sex from her. Simply because she denied him from sleeping with her, he started victimising the her. According to the female victim, the man had committed worse various sexual abuse in the school. Unfortunately, the school management are not aware of this man’s sex perversion. This is somebody who has a wife at home with kids.
In normal settings, a sexually morally deficient person like him should not be allowed to stay in a school environment. This man had masterminded the exodus of many excellent and very competent educators and a school administrator who moved the school to a greater height, some of whom he met on the job with his rat race all because he wants to become the principal of the school.
He is indirectly creating problems for the school unknown to the school management. The new principal would probably be his next victim. The earlier the school management realises the evil this man is, before he ruins the school, the better it is for the school.
This is just one of the intrigues or politics in many school environments. Many innocent teachers have been fired this way unjustly.
5. Friendly look and appearance: Office politicians are very good at this. They would laugh with you, they would joke with you, they would sometimes even ask about your welfare. Meanwhile, what some of them have in their minds against you is more demonic than that of satan himself. Some of them learn this from the 48 Laws of Power, a book by an American author Robert Greene.
A Congolese lady whose picture appears below was allegedly poisoned by her ‘best friend’ because of promotion, according to reports. The Congolese lady was promoted ahead of her so-called best friend. The friend became bitter and poisoned the lady, according to the reports. The friend was arrested and charged for murder. However, she denied the charge. The incident happened in October, 2019.
6. Being fetish and diabolical: Some of the office politicians especially in this part of the world are fetish and diabolical. They do this in addition to their physical actions in office to achieve their aims. There is a reported case of a senior teacher in a school who forgetfully left antelope horn tied with red cloth in a drawer in his office! Antelope horn to do what? These are 21st century graduates o.
So, people do a lot of terrible things in offices to illegitimately get benefits, promotion, favour, etc. There is a reported case of a man who was assisted by his close friend to get an employment in a school. The man was employed into the same department with the close friend in that school. The man later backstabbed and pulled down the close friend in the sight of the school management. He successfully relegated his benefactor friend to the background through calumny in the sight of the school management. He backstabbed and gossiped about many other staff until he was made the Head of that Department.
He continued with his treacherous attitude and pulling down other staff members in the sight of the school management until he was again made the vice principal of the school. He masterminded the termination of appointments/sack of many teachers. Many staff left the school because of him. He didn’t stop there. He later continued to backstab and pull down the school’s principal until the principal was demoted and the man was eventually made the principal of the school!
One other bad thing people do in offices to illegitimately get benefits, promotion, favour, etc is the use of sex. This is common with women. It’s so terrible that some of the people who engaged in this shameful act are both married men and women.
For the office politicians who destroy the careers of their fellow colleagues because of their own ambitions, the repercussions of their evil actions lie ahead of them. It’s just a matter of time. Some call this “Karma”. For innocent teachers who would not want to be entangled in office politics, we can take the following steps:
1. Be dedicated to your work. Put in your very best to ensure success of all your students.
2. Live peacefully with all your colleagues both the junior and the senior.
3. Stay away from gossip.
4. Avoid telling colleagues your personal or family life. They might use it against you. Some of the colleagues you consider friends are actually spies for the office politicians. They are hypocrites. They are enemies in disguise. When you experience an attack or downfall from the office politicians, that is when you’ll see their true colour. They’ll always be on the side of the office politicians because they are in the same caucus.
Some colleagues would become your friends simply because of the benefits they want to get from you. The moment they are not getting the benefits again, they become your enemies. Some colleagues would become your friends basically to monitor your life and to discreetly cause your downfall or at least to prevent your progress. Only a few friends are sincere friends. So, beware of ‘friends’.
5. If you’re sure an injustice is being done against you especially by a superior, report to the higher authority like the head of school, director, etc.
6. Do not pull down your fellow colleagues because of the higher position you’re aiming at. Do not destroy the careers of your fellow colleagues because of a position. Positions attained with the destruction of careers of fellow colleagues or pulling down of fellow colleagues would always end in sorrow and regret.
7. Be prayerful.
8. Be always prepared for the worst. Sometimes, leaving an organisation might be the best for us. We wouldn’t know because our knowledge is carnal. Perhaps, God has a better plan for us.
A Passionate Appeal to The School Owners, Heads of Schools, Administrators and Directors
A lot of political intrigues are happening within many school environments many of which the school owners, heads of schools and directors are not aware of. School owners/heads of schools/directors are mostly not in direct contact with the teachers.
So, as a school owner/head of school/director, when the principal, headmaster, head teacher, supervisor or anybody you appointed to head a school/any section of the school, comes to you with the recommendation of sack, demotion or sanction of any of the teachers/staff, please, investigate properly before authorizing the recommendation so that an injustice will not be meted out to an innocent person. Many innocent teachers are victims of witch-hunt.
Victims of witch-hunt in scenarios like this find it extremely difficult to exonerate themselves. Why? The office politician who reported the innocent teacher to the school owner/head of school/director/administrator would always have the support of his/her footsoldiers among the teachers/staff. If, for instance, the school owner/head of school/director/administrator decides to investigate from other teachers, he/she would in most cases end up listening to the footsoldiers of the office politician. With that, he/she would conclude that the innocent teacher is guilty. So, the victims of witch-hunt are always in a dilemma. The cases of most victims of witch-hunt are like that of the warthog in the video below:
A teacher had a similar experience some years back. The truth was revealed about three years after the innocent teacher left the school and the office politicians who conspired against the innocent teacher were fired. In fact, many of the footsoldiers of the office politicians were also asked to go! Nature has a way of revealing the truth. Unfortunately, the damage would have been done in most cases before the truth is revealed.
One of the best ways through which the school owner/head of school/director/administrator can investigate the reported case of any teacher/staff is by personal assessment. The school owner/head of school/director/administrator needs to assess/observe/supervise the teacher involved personally to eliminate the false reports from the footsoldiers of the office politicians.
The Bible says “Examine everything carefully and hold firmly to that which is right”. (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Qur’an says “O you who believe! If someone brings you news, investigate, to avoid harming people out of ignorance and later regret what you have done”. (Qur’an 49:6)
A lot of political intrigues are happening within many school environments. So, school owner/head of school/director/administrator should watch closely to avoid meting out injustice to innocent teachers/staff.
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(Photo Credits: www.startupstories.com, humanresourcesblog.com, jilchristensenintl.com, natjan.com, slideshare.com, canada.com, digest.bps.org.uk, etsy.com, thepracticeofleadership.net, empxtrack.com. Video Credit: african_wonders)