How Do I Get Power/Influence?

How Do I Get Power/Influence? Let’s say you’ve recognized that you want influence or power in your job, either to move ahead or avoid falling behind. First and as a given, you need to do your present job exceptionally well even if it’s a joe job and you know you’d be more successful at a higher level. Bosses don’t promote people who are doing a crummy job, no matter the reason. However, that’s not enough. To position yourself for promotion, you need to be influential with your boss and within your company.[1] Even if your boss doesn’t have the power to promote you, he can usually assign you to projects which increase your skills or assign you to cross-functional teams. The first makes you more promotable and the second gives you profile. How do you create influence? How many of the following are effective in creating influence? Working even harder Doing whatever needs to be done Flattering the boss Suggesting new ideas even if you give the credit to others Suggesting new ideas even if they aren’t your own Highlighting the many fires you’ve put out Did you pick more than one? Nope, I’d say the only one which works…

Power Matters to You

Power Matters to You In the last post, you were vying for the power to develop a new company service. Despite your and Sarah’s best efforts, Mike positioned himself as the only one to do it. Why should you care about power? So, why does this matter? You may be thinking that you’re not power-hungry so this undercurrent can’t or shouldn’t affect you. (My definition of power is later if you’re interested.) After all, you’ve got a job. Who cares who gets the power? You do or should. The scenario in the last post showed why. Not only will Mike increase his profile but possibly at your expense if the money Mike needs is diverted from your budget. If so, you can’t meet your commitments but can kiss your year-end bonus good-bye. You not only don’t advance your career by creating the new service, you may actually lose ground. So news—even if you just want to do your job, power can and does affect that modest goal. Without it, you can’t prevent yourself from being at the whim of those who with it. What you do, how you do it, when you do it, who you work with, who you…

Power—The Hidden Engine at Work

Power—The Hidden Engine at Work As I mentioned in a previous post, there are at least five undercurrents in organizations. Power is an important one. Here’s an example of how it’s used at work. Power at work Your company manufactures greeting cards. You are meeting with your boss Galen and your peer managers. Galen is a nice guy but to your mind, too much under the influence of Mike, one of your peers. Galen: Alicia [Galen’s boss] wants a new service to let customers customize their cards. They access our files on say, birthdays, to pick the wording and picture. We combine them to print or send by soft copy. I’m looking for the right person to take this on. Mike hogs things Mike: Well, obviously, since I manage the writers, it would be best if I took it. Sarah: Why, Mike? I’ve got the artists. People buy cards for the illustration, not the words. I should head up the new service. You make a bid YOU: Well, since my guys ready the illustrations and text for production, I should get it. Mike: You’re just the back end. You put the files together so production won’t screw up. YOU: Exactly,…

Wouldn’t It Be Better if I Made the Management Decision Myself?
Dark Side for Employees / April 30, 2018

Wouldn’t It Be Better if I Made the Management Decision Myself? Well, depends on what you mean by ‘better.’ Faster? Yes. More efficient? Yes. More effective? Hmm—maybe not. In all the areas under your authority, you have the right to make decisions, with or without employee input. And if there are compelling operational reasons (e.g. certain skills must be available, etc.), it’s probably appropriate to do so. Similarly, relatively trivial decisions don’t need employee input.  But be careful here. Decisions like holidays, although in the grand scheme of things, trivial, are not seen so by employees. Re-arranging office space, replacing office furniture, and other housekeeping items which affect the employees’ personal space or degrees of freedom will not be seen as unimportant. Why can’t I make the decision myself? Again, you are within your rights to do so. And often that is the way to go.  But sometimes it is better to take the admittedly more time-consuming approach of consulting employees. When does it make sense to do that? Beyond decisions which get employees where they live, there are: When employees can choose how well they implement a decision. Some managers (particularly senior ones) have the charming belief that once…

Does your company have undercurrents?
Dark Side for Employees / April 2, 2018

Does your company have undercurrents? It can be hard to imagine that your company has undercurrents, especially since, as I say, they are not well recognized by even the most astute office politicians. Undercurrents quiz To identify if your company does, answer the following questions: Who is influential/who gets listened to? The person with the best argument, however expressed The one whose words fit the latest strategy Whoever shouts loudest or longest? Who gets promoted? The one who: Has the right skills and aptitudes Is one of our kind Plays golf /racket ball or drinks with the right people? How is dissent handled? Acknowledged even from nut cases. Debated Politely listened to and then ignored Shouted down Ridiculed Listened to only from well-respected people Which is true of your company? I can say the unpopular without being ridiculed or punished It’s better to have an iffy decision than piss people off by insisting on the right one I avoid telling my boss how things really are Unless you have picked the first option for every question, you have undercurrents. And frankly, if you didn’t, I’d have trouble believing you. All organizations have them, some tow more than others, some are…