ASK HR: Nothing wrong with ‘knowing’ people in high places

Thursday November 01 2018

You’re on your own, and that reality stings. It dawns on you every morning and if that doesn’t get you out of bed, then you may have little hope than it takes to survive the crisis. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


Q. I am a young bishop working for a major denomination in Kenya. Senior bishops based at our headquarters in the city are seriously compromised people. Admission of graduate bishops and their remuneration is a skewed process that happens at their whim. Those who ‘know’ the seniors tend to fare better than the rest of us who choose to uphold integrity. I fear bringing up the issue lest it triggers a storm within the church. How can I deal with the matter professionally without it working against me?


Although you have generally ascribed lack of integrity to the senior bishops in your church, the specific nature of their impropriety is a little unclear from your question.

Does ‘knowing’ the seniors point to special relationships between some junior and senior bishops that appear to confer special or undeserved favour upon the former regardless of the level of their performance and adherence to church values?

Have some young bishops with whom you share similar qualifications and contribution to the church been promoted or rewarded more based only on their relationship with the senior bishops?

Are capable young bishops who do not pander to the whims senior bishops ostracised? Are all senior bishops bereft of integrity? Who else shares your view? Have you been overlooked?


It is important to establish the verity of the matter and be certain that your perception has not been stained by a disgruntled spirit.

While it is essential to deliver results at work, it is equally important to nurture meaningful relationships with stakeholders. It is difficult to register long term success in any role merely on account of results without the component of sound relationships.

Problems arise when relationships are abused to undermine fairness and performance. Have you considered how you might cultivate positive relationships with your seniors?

Is there a senior bishop with whom you have a good rapport who could listen to your concern without unleashing ugly repercussions on your career?

Have you tried the internal mechanism of whistleblowing? Is there opportunity or forum for giving suggestions for improvement? Are you carrying out your duties with such exceptional diligence that you are a model others desire to emulate?

Some people estimate the church to be the conscience of society and consider that the conduct of individuals leading such institutions should distinctly be above reproach.

If by remaining in that church you sense that your reputation and career as a cleric may be blemished, it may be time to consider finding a new environment that is more in tandem with your faith.


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