Hi, Russell Stratton, Leadership Champion of Bluegem Learning. I work with organizations just like yours, to help transform average bosses into great leaders. To help them facilitate, improve performance for both individuals, and teams.
In the last blog, we were talking about influencing at work, and look to this particular model, about influencing in four directions. At the end of that blog, I talked about the secret, being understanding where our power sources were, and how we could leverage power. That’s what I want to focus on today.
If we look back at this model … If you remember, we have this sort of, traditional top, down approach, where we would be influencing us as the manager, and we’re influencing and individuals within our team.
Often what we find here, is that we can use positional power, to be able to leverage results in that area. By positional power, I’m thinking about, we have reward, and also if we look to the other side, coercion. The classic carrot, and steak. If you do this, and it goes well, then I reward you. If you don’t do this, then there’s some way of being able to correct that, with the individual. That’s simply the most traditional approach.
Obviously, we sometimes find we need to build in more of a relationship with those individuals, get people understanding, the why. We’re moving more now, into the personal power. Certainly, this positional power works down here. Positional power doesn’t work as well, particularly if we’re thinking about external partners, and peers.
Let’s look at external partners for a moment. In the first blog, I was looking at a story of when I was working in Scotland Yard. We were talking of senior police officers engaging with community members. If we just think of that example for a moment, were they gonna be able to use positional power with external partners? The answer’s no. I can’t get you to do something on the reward or coercion basis, because you don’t work for me. What I realized pretty early on, one thing we can’t do, is actually be able to use, what we traditionally have used.
I mentioned personal power. This is where they had to make a switch between position and personal. Now, what do I mean by personal power? Well, there are a couple things we might think about. Is this about expert power? Am I somebody who has expertise, or specialist knowledge in a particular area that’s of use to this person over here. Is it referral power? Does the person actually like me? Am I a likable character, who can build engagement and build relationship with people? If the answer to that is yes, then I can leverage that, in my relationship rhythm. If the answer’s no, then it’s difficult for me to be able to influence somebody, if they have half don’t like me, and have no respect for me.
The other area we might consider is, information power. Do I have information that, that person needs, that will help them, in which so, I can leverage that. A little bit used like using expertise. What our senior police officers were finding, that they were having to access personal power a lot more in this type of relationship, than they did here, because they couldn’t rely on that sort of traditional, positional power. Wasn’t a lot different than when they were looking over here, with their peers.
Think about in yourself. If you want one of your colleagues to do something, they’re probably gonna do it, because you can persuade them, based on your personality of being somebody that they like and respect, much more than, “I tell you what, you know. I can get you a pay rise if you do that.” They’d probably love it, if you could, but the reality is, you don’t have that within your gift, to do so.
If you’re thinking about the relationship you have with your boss, you’re not using positional power at all. Everything is personal. Typically, it’s based upon your level of expertise, your level of connection, and the information that you know. If your boss believes that you’re somebody, who is good at their job, who is able to deliver results, and is able to move the organization forward, then they’re more likely to allow you to influence them. If they don’t, are they really gonna give you the time of day, or the air time? Probably not.
Things for us to think about in here, if we look back, is think about ourselves, and our relationships that we have at work. How do we sit when we talk about positional power? How do we sit when we talk about personal power? Where do we score highly? Where do we not score very well, and do we need to do something to improve that? A lot of the work that I said that I do with clients, is helping them work out, what their levels of power are, and how they can actually leverage this, with the various people that they’re having to influence, and coming out with practical strategies to do so. If you’ve enjoyed this video, feel free to share it with your colleagues. Comment as always below and I’ll get back to you. If you think I could help your organization, check out my website at Bluegemlearning.com.