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Strategies for Building Structural Power (Part 1)

Strategies for Building Structural Power (Part 1)
What we’re gonna do now is talk about some very specific strategies, practices, that you can use to begin building your bases of power. Building your structural base of power. Building your personal base of power. And finally, building your cognitive base of power. But I first want to focus on the strategies for building your structural power. Now, we’ve talked about three bases, three structural bases of power, Legitimate, Reward, and Coercion. Now on the legitimate base of power. Remember, legitimate is all about the formal authority, the direct reporting relationships which are often visualized or conceptualized with an organizational chart like the one you see here from the bank ING.
Now, if it was as simple as well, just get promoted and you gain more legitimate power then that would be a very easy solution, a very easy strategy to take. The reality is this, this is not that simple. Certainly as you move up the organization you are granted more legitimate authority, more legitimate power in the organization. But importantly, there are other things you can do. Even if you’re at the bottom or in the middle of an organizational chart like the one you see here, to build and enhance your base of legitimate power in this case. So one example is to use symbols and artifacts that emphasize your legitimate power, the legitimate power that you do have.
Many of you are not at the very bottom of the organizational chart, some of you are, in which case you’re going to have very little legitimate power.
Okay. But if you’re in the middle, if you’re at the top regardless of where you sit in that organizational chart. You can still enhance or increase the perception that people have of your legitimate power by using symbols and artifacts to emphasize and make saline, make public this legitimate power that you do have. So good examples. In the military, you’ll see the emblems, the medals that military officials around the world wear. Why do they wear these medals or these emblems? Well, the more medals you have, or the different types of emblems or medals that you have that speaks to your legitimate authority in that organization. It’s a reminder to people. For example, take the police.
No matter where you are in the world, police have uniforms. The value of that uniform is it is a reminder of the legitimate authority that they have in any particular context in which they’re in. The same things true on how you do your business cards. So here you’re looking at a business card of a gentleman, Microsoft Certified Professional Developer and look at all of the different credentials that there listed on this business card. MCPD, VB, SQL, JavaScript. All of these are credentials, areas of in some cases, expertise, but they’re also credentials that really can reinforce legitimate authority as an expert.
And again, this type of activity can be used, not only to enhance the expertise power that we w’ell talk about in a minute. But also the legitimate authority, the legitimate power that you would have in a situation if we were, for example, developing software developing code. Also pay attention to the job title, Senior Software Engineer. Not software engineer, senior software engineer. Job titles, reminders of those job titles, are extremely powerful way to remind and reinforce the legitimate power that people have.
So what I’d like you to do is think about legitimate power. Because I recognize that many of you will be at the top of your organization, many of you will be in the middle of your organization, many of you will be near the bottom of the organization. And so what I’d like for you to do is share ways that you can communicate legitimate power in your organization. And all of this is gonna be contextual. What works to communicate legitimate power in your organization may be different than what works to communicate legitimate power in another organization. But how do you effectively communicate to your employees, to your team members, how do you communicate legitimate power? Share best practices.
Learn from each other. Because one of the important realities, the facts, is if you are always reinforcing or trying to communicate, I’m the boss to your team members. You can imagine that if your boss was always trying to remind you that he or she is the boss, that’s going to undermine that power. And so what are the effective strategies? What are the best practices that you can use to communicate this legitimate power? Engage in the discussion forum, share with each other the practices you use and see if you can learn from each other. And see if there are any common themes, or maybe some differences that work in your environment, that may or may not work in other environments.
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