Regardless of popular belief and assumption on the nature of organizational effectiveness, nothing gets done in an organization until someone takes on the responsibility to make it happen. Managers’ primary responsibilities are to make the right things happen. To do so effectively, management must successfully influence the activities of other organizational members. The art of influencing others involve exercising power. In any organizational setting, to influence successfully, power must be used effectively. Below are three simple considerations that are important in using power to manage effectively.
Understand that to manage effectively you must have the power to do so, and in the case of overcoming opposition, you must have more power than they do. This means it’s essential to know who’s responsible for powerful decisions in your organization and how these power sources can be nurtured. Also important is to recognize that there is nothing wrong with the acquisition and use of power when done in a professional manner. Regardless of how effective you are as a manager, increasing your influence will further increase your effectiveness.
Know what position relevant individuals hold with respect to issues important to you. It’s much easier to influence organizational members who agree with you than it is to affect the behavior of those who do not. Knowing why someone’s perspective is different from yours makes the task of influencing them easier. Understanding why subordinates dislike a new appraisal system with negative impact on pay incentives, for example, affords the manager a better opportunity to understand how employees are likely to respond to different attempts to win them over on its merits.
Acknowledge that there are multiple different interests in virtually every organization. Not everyone’s interest is the same, not everyone’s interest is compatible with yours, as the manager. Understanding the organization’s political landscape is key, by knowing what interest exist and to whom they belong.
Finally, recognize the strategies and tactics through which organizational power is used. This includes understanding the importance of timing in decision making, taking advantage of the organization’s structure, and the various forms of interpersonal power. Understanding strategies and tactics of using power so that the range of available approaches can be considered and use what is likely to be effective. As employees, and prominent organizational members, one does not have to be in a formal leadership position to use power. With the same token, having and using power is an integral part of leadership.
By Sophia Sanchez, PhD(c), SPHRFounder and Principal Consultant Develop For Results International Author of “The Development Alternative: Powerful Strategies for unparalleled Business Results” DevelopForResults.com