Political behavior almost always starts with the CEO. Now you may be thinking: “I hate politics, I’m not political, but my organization is very political. I clearly didn’t cause this.” Sadly, you needn’t be political to create extreme political behavior in your organization. In fact, it’s often the least political CEOs who run the most ferociously political organizations. Apolitical CEOs frequently accidentally encourage intense political behavior.
What do I mean by politics? I mean people advancing their careers or agendas by means other than merit and contribution. There may be other types of politics, but politics of this form seem to be the ones that really bother people.