and other more common names. The meeting was held under the guise to “get our input” but it became obvious about 5 minutes into the meeting that it was designed to get a quick “I’m in” from the support crew. In short, the “Commander-In-Chief” was looking to get an agreement by over using authority instead of engaging strategies that build influence and create sustainable patterns of growth and morale.
Why was this tactic used? There are two basic reasons: 1) Most of the time the tactic “works”
because very few are going to speak up in disagreement in the intense moment of decision and will simply approve of the request or demand either by vote or silence. In fact, some have as their modus operandi in these meetings…to get out of them as quickly as possible. The look of agreement may end the meeting fast. 2) It has the appearance of being “easier” versus facing the challenges of navigating departmental independence & silos, organizational politics or a variety of personalities. It appears easier but “how does anyone feel” who believes they have been forced, coerced or manipulated to say “yes”? This tactic over time builds resistance internally, erodes influence and compromises morale.
There are two issues here that need to be addressed:
1) How does “the boss” create an environment that engenders creativity and collaboration while not compromising productivity?
Why do I even put it this way? Simply, many bosses and future bosses see collaboration at some level being adversarial to productivity. Collaboration is not anti-productivity but we function in a world of controlled-based performance models that make it
difficult to see any other path other than the one we know.
2) How does the “not the boss” create an environment that creates opportunities for the “High Admiral” to be more engaging?
In other words, how does a junior executive coach the one to whom they report? More coming on this in future blogs so stay
For the “Not The Boss” Yet
Here are 8 ways to build your influence with your boss starting today:
1) Be humble.
2) Assume the best about your Boss. Chances are they did not get up this morning with the goal to interrupt everything you had planned nor to make your life miserable.
3) What are you trying to create with them? Or, when you have what you want with the boss…what will it be? Sounds familiar as yesterday’s point for the boss…right? Conceptualizing the point is always critical in the process. However, you are in a different role here. You are not in charge so consider how to proactively support your boss’s request.
4) Ask. Ask permission to explore alternatives or to ask questions. So, your supervisor offers a plan to address some issue and you ask, “I’m not sure I fully understand the goal. May I ask some questions?” Or, “I like where you are going with this (must be genuine)… how would we address _____________ (fill in the blank)?” And…”I’m glad you bring this up, there are some related issues and roadblocks we’ve faced before like _____________(fill in the blank). I have some ideas I would like to share on these subjects. Is that OK?”
5) Provide additional context or information. Help your leader understand “what all is involved” using data and information they may not have considered.
6) Offer to tweak the plan or create a “rough draft” with “today’s discussion” considered.
7) Connect with your Boss. It’s no accident that you are working for this person at this point in your career noticing what you notice. Consider what “language” inspires or influences them. Learn to speak their language even if it is a second language for you.
8) Risk it. You will have to weigh all of these points yourself as to when to “go for it” but at some point we all need to take the risk to become the influential people we desire to be.
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