Last week, more than 7,000 people took our quiz called “What Type of Power Do You Use?” And while we’re still analyzing all the data, something interesting has already emerged.
One of the questions on the quiz asked:
When people follow me it’s because…
A. They like me as a person
B. I’m seen as powerful or influential
Overall, when we look at all 7,000+ responses, there’s a pretty even split between A and B. But, that split is not so even when you dissect the responses by how high-up the person is in the organizational hierarchy. See the chart below (and click on the different job levels to see how the responses change)…
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Well, this is not unexpected. As people gain more formal authority, they’re going to be seen as more influential. Makes sense, right? But there are two things to watch out for as you think about how this applies to you personally…
FIRST, I’m a bit worried that Middle Managers are not taking advantage of all their available influence and power. There are a lot of Middle Managers who rely solely on being liked as a means of getting their employees to do things. And while that’s okay much of the time, there are instances where you really do need to use sources of power beyond being liked (because not every action you’re going to request is going to make you ‘likeable’.)
SECOND, Senior Executives do need to ensure that they don’t lose all of their likeability. Being powerful is totally fine, but I do see occasions where executives rely solely on ‘do it because I’m the boss’ as a means of getting things done. And that act can get old pretty quickly.
So, while these results are not unexpected, do be mindful of how you use various sources of power, and try not to fall into stereotypical patterns.
To explore these topics even further, join us Friday for our webinar called THE SCIENCE OF GETTING POWER AND INFLUENCE.