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Informal Influence and Power

Informal Influence and Power
When I think about formal power, I find that to be the most ineffective type of leadership, right? Formal power is somebody tells you you need to do something. When you work in a culture with a lot of really smart people they always start with the why. And so, I think an easy out is to tell people to do things. I mean, I run a big department, I tell people to do things. The problem with the tell is that you reflect all day then. And either people push back or you push back on yourself cuz that’s the culture.
So I think that when you can get people to follow because they believe in the decision or in the answer or the outcome, it’s a much more effective style of leadership. And I think that’s something that builds over time. You’ve got to get people to trust you. They’ve got to trust your instinct. We recently had a big project, and the team came and they presented the project. And it was really missing a very key element. And it was really pretty costly to fix the mistake, if you want to call it a mistake. But I think it was a really important messaging. And so, I tried with the first person, and we had some dialogue.
And they kinda didn’t necessarily buy into it. And so, we wound up in a room with ten people looking and examining the issue. It was one of these moments, one of these case studies that you all use in business school where it was, can you sway the jury? And by the end of the discussion it was getting one person, not myself, but getting someone else to say, I could never use this because it would be offensive to somebody. And that was enough to sway everybody.
So I think in really important decision making, if you can find someone who doesn’t necessarily have the authority to make the decision, but is viewed by their peers as someone that has really good influencing skills, or just good judgement. If you can get that person on your side, it’s easier for people to feel like they’re following without being forced.
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Influencing People

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