Some writers on leadership like to imagine that the ancient leadership style of command and control is obsolete and disappearing fast. Does it feel like that to you? It is certainly less prevalent than it may have been in the 70s and 80s, but it remains pretty vigorous — at least judging by the volume of examples I hear of each month. And perhaps it should be too. Command and control still has a place in leadership and it always will — provided it is done in the right way. Alive and kicking it is and you should be taking the latter word metaphorically rather than literally! Below I will share with you three scenarios where I believe command and control is absolutely the right style to adopt. And to help me avoid becoming the friend and mentor to mini-despots the world over, please make sure and also read the criteria for appropriate use of command and control at the end of this article! Read More
When you are clear about what you want to achieve, it is often frustrating to find that others do not share your enthusiasm. A great deal of time and effort is expended building the case, considering the risks and planning the execution. Everything seems to make sense and you are keen to get going – you want to implement swiftly. Then the problems start. Reaching out to your stakeholders, you begin to find out that some are not interested. They fail to buy-in to your project or, worse, don’t even give you the time to explain your plans. When you do get to see them, they start to share insights with you about other things going on elsewhere in the organisation, which seem to be in direct conflict with what you are working on. Trouble is, you can see that they may have a valid point. Doubts begin to Read More
At times the power games and political manoeuvring appear undecipherable. An implicit feature of politics is that of imperfect information — not many know what is really going on. And the actors often relish and encourage that. Mere mortals should keep out of the way, unless they serve as useful and expendable pawns. In this article, I'm going to extend on the previous one in this series (Understanding Your Reputational Context) and increase the ante by sharing with you a process whereby you can apply Read More
We talk a great deal about influencing stakeholders here on the influence blog, yet sometimes it is those closest to you that are a missed opportunity. If you can influence your colleagues, team members and closest co-workers, a great many others things become possible. So, without further ado, here are nine ways you can become a more influential team member:
- Understand their goals. Key to being influential with people is having a deep insight into what they are striving for, or trying to avoid. If you can figure out their personal and professional agendas, you will develop a keener sense of how things that you do will affect them, and how they will react.
- Be an enthusiast, of them. My oldest self-development book (Masters of the Situation by James Tilley, 1888) proposes enthusiasm as one of the secrets of power and influence. Still true, and here you can apply it to your colleagues and their goals.
Obvious answer – of course you are! You know that. But, do they? It is far easier that you may realise for others to distrust you. You don’t need to do anything wrong to see their level of trust in you dip. Indeed, it may be nothing whatsoever to do with you. However, the negative impact on your work will be big. Below I am going to share thirteen reasons why trust may be declining around you – then you can take steps to arrest any decline, or make sure it doesn’t start to drop in the first place. Before I do that…
What is Trust?
“The degree to which someone can predict how you will respond in certain situation.”For instance: giving them an honest answer to a straight question; remaining calm when disputes arise; supporting their work when the need arises. In practice, this usually means that they believe you will respond in a favourable way. Defining trust this way can also include Read More
Many years ago I did a silly thing. At the time, I was working in a large financial services firm, in their international division. It was a wild place to be honest, out of the mainstream. But, a place where we could innovate, move fast, open up new markets, and make lots of profit – often to the embarrassment of the larger UK based divisions. The politics were fast, at times a little brutal, but we always made up afterwards and celebrated our collective successes. The silly thing I did? Well, I thought Read More
Over the last month I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the political problems they face at work. This research was initiated to accompany a new online course I am developing, Mastering the Politics. What I wanted to do is to make sure it is relevant and solves as many of the current problems people are facing as possible. What the research threw up was as fascinating as it was depressing. So, without further ado, in reverse order, the most irritating political situations people are having to cope with at work are: Read More
The Six Pillars of Political Mastery are intended to get results. Especially useful where is it difficult to work out what is really going on. Here are two simple examples of how it helped two of my coaching clients recently. In the first example, Susan had been having difficulty with a senior level stakeholder. This stakeholder had been loud in her criticism of what Susan was doing, demanding reports at short notice and generally creating grief all round, not just for Susan. However, given her position it was difficult to ignore what she was doing. Susan’s initial inclination was to take steps to Read More
Like it or not, politics is a key part of your work, especially at middle to high levels in large or complex organisations. There is simply no way of avoiding it. Why? Because your work was created by political ambition. At some point, someone thought it would serve their purpose if they created your role. What that purpose was, and how pure it was might be difficult to see. In all probability, that person also had to overcome opposition to create your role, to win the budget, the approval and also, to maintain it. All of these things require influence, or politics. The words are really the same, as are the actions. The main difference between them is the intent fuelling the action – and the harmful consequences tolerated. So, you are slap bang in the middle of a political world, like it or not. To avoid it, deny it, or simply stand and watch it, is clearly an option. And, an option that a great many people take, or rather, fall into. Why, because they don’t like it. Most, in my view, don’t like it because they cannot see what is really happening, why things are working the way they are. This knowledge gap means they become tentative or foolhardy in their actions. Tentative politicians don’t last any longer than foolhardy ones! Having specialised in this area for a long time now, I thought it would be useful to share a new structure Read More
To succeed you need to be determined, and you need to show that determination to your colleagues. Hiding your drive behind a mast of sociability or tact simply doesn’t cut it. On at least nine out of every ten workshops I run, the most senior people present have the highest scores for determination on their Influence Profile. Although nobody wants to admit that they lack determination, the scores clearly show they would sooner be the nice guy, or favour harmonious relationships. The degree of raw determination seems to count for little when it comes to success, if you neglect to let people know that you are determined to succeed. As you may imagine I have a few theories about why this is the case, and I’ll save them for another day. The important thing I want to drive home here Read More