Leadership Power, Politics and Persuasion

Some executives  are uncomfortable using power or office politics, viewing them as the dark side of workplace behavior. They believe morale and commitment erode when politics dominate the environment.

But research clearly shows that being politically savvy and building a power base pay off.

Sources of Influence

There are three sources of influence in an organization: positional, relational and personal:

  1. Positional power: Your title and job status confer some level of formal authority.
  2. Relationships: Informal power stems from the relationships and alliances you form with others. If you do a favor for someone, the law of reciprocity impacts your relationship.
  3. Personal: Some people generate influence based on their knowledge, expertise, technical competencies and ability to articulate ideas or a vision that others will follow. Your communication skills, charisma and trustworthiness help determine your personal power.

Open to Influence

Executives and managers who are open to peers’ and subordinates’ input garner greater respect than those who resist others’ influence. An openness to influence demonstrates trust and respect, which become reciprocal and contagious.

You can offer goods and services to a potential ally in exchange for cooperation: technical assistance, information, lease of space or equipment, a plum assignment and the like. Understanding what others want or value is crucial.

Avoiding Power

Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and author of Power: Why Some People Have It—And Others Don’t, cites three barriers that cause executives to shy away from using power to extend their influence.

This article examines three ways people avoid power, why power is so important to success, persuasion tactics, and practical steps for leveraging office politics in an ethical manner.


This is a brief synopsis of a 2000 & 1000-word article suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials.

You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete 2,000 word article includes these important concepts:

  • Sources of Power
  • Open to Influence
  • Currencies of Exchange
  • Power without Authority
  • Avoiding Power
  • Fair Play?
  • Persuasion
  • Office Politics

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Power, Politics, and Persuasion
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