Continuing our look at the Harvard Business Review’s series on productivity, Annie McKee writes about how power affects your productivity.
Power, not money, is the real currency in organizations. It gets us what we need to stay “alive”. The strongest people make the calls, show us the way to go. And whether we admit it or not, most people want to be seen as powerful. There are lots of ways to become truly influential at work, some that generate positive emotions, and some that aren’t so good. Healthy ways include striving to be the best at building a great team, and being at the center of information flows. When we wield these kinds of power, we feel pretty good about ourselves, and people trust and want to follow us.
Machiavellian machinations and dastardly power grabs are not the only way to aggregate or exercise power. How leaders wield power affects the productivity of their organizations. David McClelland and David Burnham…
…found that managers fall into three motivational groups. Those in the first, affiliative managers, need to be liked more than they need to get things done. Their decisions are aimed at increasing their own popularity rather than promoting the goals of the organization. Managers motivated by the need to achieve—the second group—aren’t worried about what people think of them. They focus on setting goals and reaching them, but they put their own achievement and recognition first. Those in the third group—institutional managers—are interested above all in power. Recognizing that you get things done inside organizations only if you can influence the people around you, they focus on building power through influence rather than through their own individual achievement. People in this third group are the most effective, and their direct reports have a greater sense of responsibility, see organizational goals more clearly, and exhibit more team spirit.
So if you have a boss who is one of these group-institutional managers, your boss is likely to give you considerable independence and responsibility (a.k.a power) because that’s what is going to allow you to get the job done.
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