I am reflecting upon two aspects of influence and power, which are relationship-oriented (investing in relationships) and result-oriented (building a reputation for performance).
Firstly, investing in relationships influenced me to think about power in a new way. Effectively managers spend 50 to 60 per cent of their time building and maintaining networks. I can encourage collaborative behaviour by fostering communication and demonstrating my commitment to collaboration. It is not about playing office politics but focuses on utilising influence for the effectiveness of the team. There are diverse teams and the leader has to handle them well and balance different priorities. Building a support network and getting people to take action requires time to invest and build rapport.
For example, Sergio de Mello, who was a Brazilian United Nations diplomat who worked on several UN humanitarian and political programs, prioritized the dignity of the citizens. Local staff members were unaccustomed to being treated with such respect by foreigners. It is an amazing investment in order for him to be effective. He even learned the native language, as language is the key to a people’s culture, and culture is the key to a people’s heart. He is able to win the sympathy of the people and invest in the relationship.
Secondly, building a reputation for performance surprised me how important it is for influence and power. Team leaders should be both relationship-oriented and result-oriented, as they are both key to successfully leading a team. People give credit and follow the leader with a good track record of getting the job done and bringing in positive results. This means my name needs to be associated with good work. I have to do what I say I will and do it well. It also implies focusing on work with the biggest impact. The source of power is legitimate when the leader earns it by delivering actual values.
For instance, Robert Moses, who was an American urban planner and public official who worked in the New York metropolitan area, had access to the levers of power only because of a reputation for performance built over decades. He is known as the “Man Who Got Things Done. He demonstrated leadership principles to earn the trust and deliver results.
Overall, as per my self-reflection, there is a sweet spot between both relationships and results, which are critical aspects of influence and power.