Thursday, August 19, 2010
HBR Summer: Post #3
“Power Play” by Jeffrey Pfeffer (professor at Stanford’s Business School) teaches us that if you hate the politics of power, maybe there’s something else you might rather do than lead. He makes a compelling argument that whatever you have of value (a network, staff, information, etc.) can be leveraged to gain power and influence in an organization, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He offers 11 ways to exercise power, such as mete out resources, shape behavior through rewards and punishment, make the first move, remove rivals—nicely if possible and make important relationships work, no matter what (read the rest in the text, along with his explanations and examples). Finally, he explains why people shy away from power. He calls on three barriers that keep people from establishing their power base: They believe that the world is a just place; The leadership literature (touts how we wished people behaved); their delicate self esteem (people quit when their self esteem gets damaged).