Influencing Strategies for Managers & Employees

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

I'm Russell Stratton, President and Leadership Champion with Bluegem Learning.

I work with organizations just like yours to help managers improve individual and team performance so that they get even better results for your business. In my previous article in our Leading from The Middle Series, I discussed the unique position that a lot of middle managers find themselves in.

Specifically I was providing some analysis as to our positional power in different types of organizations...are you a shark or a lamb? If you don't know what that means, check out the previous vlog. What I'd like to move onto now is how you can leverage the power that you do have to influence those around you in your organization...

In order to do this, the first thing is to understand is "what power do we have?"

There are two traditional types of power that we generally consider in an organization:

- Positional Power, i.e., that comes with the job role that we have, and

- Personal Power that we have as an individual employee.

Let's look at the positional power first of all.

In our traditional organization, if we're looking at that sort of top down, I am looking to influence those people that work for me, then positional power works really well.

There are 4 Types of Positional Power that we can focus on. Legitimate Power comes with my position and title in the organization.

Reward Power, this is the sort of the carrot. I can offer you a reward for doing something that I want you to do.

Perhaps it's a pay raise, perhaps it's a bonus, perhaps it's that opportunity to be involved with the project that you are interested in.

The flip side of that is that is Coersive Power, sometimes known as the stick.

This is line of thought involves, "If you don't do this for me, this is what's going to happen."

The ultimate sanction, you know, you get fired.

Or we could be looking at things a little bit more subtle than that. Perhaps you don't get put on that project that you were interested in, perhaps I don't put you forward for a bonus next year.

And finally, is our Resource Power.

As a leader in the organization, I have certain resources at my disposal, whether it's personnel, whether it's budget, whether it's access, and I can control that. So as we can see, with our first set, these types of power all come with the position that we have within the organization.

This works well, as we were talking about, when we are working with people who work for us, but is less effective when we're working with people who are our peers, people who work outside our organization or even our boss.

You can't really turn around to your boss and say, "Well, unless you let me have x, y, and z, I'm not going to give you that bonus", because they're going to look at you rather strangely because that's not within your gift to give.

But what you can do is leverage your personal power. So let's have a look at the four areas that we're focusing on.

Referring power

You happen to be somebody that that person actually likes as an individual, somebody that they get on with and somebody they feel they can connect with?

That's always going to be helpful.

The more people like you, the more likely they are to do what it is you ask.

The second type of personal power to consider is Expert Power.

Do you have some expertise or skill that is in short supply or is demand in your organization? Not necessarily a super power, but you have something that the organization needs and people that you work with or within the organizational matrix needs, that lets you stand out from others.

If you do, leverage it. Information Power

Do you know something that people need to know?

Do you have access to certain information that others in the organization and outside the organization that you deal with would benefit from, because being the conduit to that information can be incredibly powerful.

And finally, do you have Connection Power?

Are you somebody who knows the right people, you know how to connect Person A with Person B to get what they need?

I've got a friend of mine who seems to have an immense amount of connection power. Whenever you talk to him in any context, he always seems to know somebody who works at that company or is involved with that particular charity or works in that community.

He's the go-to guy, he's like the fixer and that's really what the connection power is. So however you identified your political landscape and what power you think you have, go back and reflect upon that....

Is it positional power or is it personal power?

Remember, positional power will work with people that work for you, but doesn't work as well with people that are on a similar level or higher with you than you in the organization.

Your personal power works both with your subordinates and also those people that work on a level or higher than you.

So sometimes it's not just about the traditional sources of power that we need to focus on, but considering what we have as individual that we can leverage to influence others. So if you enjoyed this information, make sure that you tune in next time. If you like this channel, make sure you subscribe and I'll see you on the other side.

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Russell Stratton

Leadership Champion

RUSSELL STRATTON is an international Leadership Expert, Professionally Certified Trainer and Coach, with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. He is co-author of the book 'I Need to F@#king Talk To You - The Art Of Navigating Difficult Workplace Conversations'.


He is a Master Facilitator for Bluegem Learning's ground breaking "Leadership Success" workshop series - providing a practical toolkit for building engagement and improving individual and team performance. Using live actors in a stop/start forum theatre approach and a combination of dynamic experiential learning techniques, participants come away with a greater ability to actually perform better as employees and leaders in your organization.


He is an accomplished management education, learning & development professional with a proven track record of working with clients in the public, voluntary and private sectors to achieve lasting, measurable step changes in business performance.


Russell works internationally with a wide range of organizational cultures and with all levels from front line customer facing staff to executive management boards. Having worked as both a Personnel Manager and Operational Manager he works at both strategic and tactical levels.

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