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Strategies for Building Structural Power (Part 2)

Strategies for Building Structural Power (Part 2)
So you’ve talked about strategies that you can use to communicate legitimate power, symbols, artifacts, job titles, things of that sort. Now I wanna share just a few more strategies that you can use to build your structural power before we go on to your personal and cognitive power bases. The second strategy that I want to bring your attention to and we’ve been doing a lot of research on this in recent years, is the degree to which you can emphasize your connections to other higher power positions or individuals. So it’s almost legitimate power or a reward power by association with these other higher power positions or individuals. Very effective strategy for you to think about.
Obviously, you have to do it within reason, if you’re always with your team or your team members emphasizing your connections to other higher power individuals or higher power positions, its effect will dissipate or become diluted over time. But used selectively, this can be a very effective strategy for enhancing your structural power base in your team, in your organization. Another strategy is to really think carefully about what we mean by rewards. In many cases, you’re not gonna have the formal power, if you will, to give out monetary rewards, or even if you do, to change the level of monetary reward in big ways.
What you can think about doing, in that case, is expanding the concept of what we mean by rewards to include non-monetary rewards. The three that I often point people to, and encourage you to pay attention to is support, benefits, and favors. These are rewards. These are needs that people have in your team, in your organization. Your ability to give people support when they need it, your ability to give benefits when people need them, on the job task related, your ability to provide favors when people need them, those are examples rewards. You don’t have to be able to give out the bonus. You don’t have to have the power to do the performance evaluation or give the bonus.
You have power to give out rewards such as support, benefits, and favors, even if we’re talking about to your boss, or to external stakeholders. That is reward power, even when you’re not in a formal position of authority, very powerful. With coercion, I generally recommend as a strategy to avoid coercion or manipulation. Oftentimes, the short term gain or the short term win is simply not worth the long term cost. When you think about your structural base of power, and your ability to force other people to do things, there is a time and place where you have to force but it’s rare. On average, I would recommend that you try to avoid coercion, certainly, manipulation, as a strategy.
Now punishment, as a form of coercion, when people do not perform up to expectations or not deliver on promises they made, there is a time for that punishment, for that negative reinforcement that we’ve talked about when we talk about motivation. There’s a time and place but generally, we find that more effective strategies are number one, number two, number three. Use your symbols and artifacts to emphasize that legitimate power. Emphasize your connections to higher power positions or individuals. For reward power, to really expand the concept of rewards to include those non-monetary support benefits and favors.
Because that really provides you with a lens or a path to enhancing your reward power in any relationship, even if that relationship was with your boss or those external stakeholders.
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