POWER – Sources, Positional vs. Personal

Power Characteristics (#2)

SITE : Feel the Power: Flexing EQ”


QUOTE: “The desire to impact others (nPow) can be responsibly sought for the purpose of doing good for the organization. NOT ALL power seekers are neurotic, despotic or troubled people (though some clearly are).
They can be effective, well adjusted & highly motivated. It turns out that power is the ultimate resource for human control, a tool that only the mentally healthy can wield successfully.” (McClelland 1982)

🧩 Allies : 
numerical strength to support the positions held
🧩 Asset : from an accumulation of assets & possessions that are considered valuable (money, property, art…)
🧩 Authority : Social, Political, Religious, Military.  Demographics (individuals, populations, generations). Having access to human
resources, especially of high quality = educated, loyal & committed
🧩 BATNA availability =”Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement”. Having more back-up plans & options lead to more negotiating power

🧩 Bureaucratic : through practical intelligence & knowing how the system works
🧩 Expertise : skills, experience, including  implied knowledge
🧩 Information : being the only source of needed facts, plans, resources, outside connections
🧩 Intangible factors : character, charisma, competence, courage, honor, leadership, morale, prestige of position, reputation, social status

🧩 Material resources : agricultural or industrial output, cybernetic / information, natural resources, military capability
🧩 Mass Media : newspapers, all on line platforms
🧩 Network centrality : one group holding power over other groups
🧩 Sanctions : the ability to impose them, & how effective they are
🧩 Situational : temporary – granted to a person to deal with a specific problem / crisis (disasters), based on their special knowledge & skill
🧩 Time : dealing with time pressure, the ability to set time deadlines & making sure they’re reached, access to arbitrary free time

Expressions of GOOD Power & Politics
Acceptance of the rules of the ‘game’, consensus of core values, creative turbulence, empowerment , open conflict, positive-sum ‘games’, shifting coalitions & interests
Adaptiveness, abolish unproductive routines, flexibility, increased efficiency, overcome dependency & inertia, root out entrenched interests

Achievement, Interesting & Challenging Work, Increased Responsibility, Involvement in Decision Making, Recognition for Accomplishments, Personal growth

Administration, Company Policies, Interpersonal Relations, Money, Security, Status, Supervision, Working Conditions

🧳 In the corporate world, Power Styles used by senior managers directly influence the organization’s risk levels. Interestingly, power & politics are unacknowledged topics in the corporate world, so when risk managers do assessments, they ignore both. Depending on the circumstance, a leader needs to use various power styles. CHART compares extremes.


INTERPERSONAL POWER in Organizations (org.)
“Positional” (Hard): This is straight-forward top-down power, & comes with the title, budget, headcount & role – for whoever has the position. The power-holder is bound by organizational / institutional rules & regulations, with the aim of making sure people work together to reach the company’s goals.
Imagined as a math formula it would be:  COO > VP > Director > Mgr > Analyst.
This form does work, but like a hammer – blunt, short-term & tiresome. Like telling your child to do something, & when asked “why”, you answer : “Because I’m your father, & I said so.” It works, but it’s not really the best way to parent.

“Relational” / Persuasive (Soft) : This is the primary currency in large organizations.  To be a highly effective leader, one needs something more than just a designation or title. Personal power flows from the leader’s internal features, such as credibility, experience, intelligence, skills, self-confidence…. Therefore, it cannot be taken away.

Such power is used to encourage people to work together, help each other out, team-up for success, forgive mistakes, & generally have each other’s back.  History is shared & so they become inter-related.
(“Influence” ∼ Robert Cialdini)

Best ACTIONS for the most profitable use of Power Resources:
Assertiveness, Coalition formation, Exchange, Ingratiation, Rationality, Upward appeal.
Most EFFECTIVE Base : Expert Power – Provides the organization with vital knowledge, abilities & skills. Employees learn from talented managers & internalize what they observe, to use on projects.

NEXT: Power Characteristics #4

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