Reflecting on Influence and Power

December 09, 2022

I am reflecting on two aspects of influence and power: relationship-oriented (investing in relationships) and result-oriented (building a reputation for performance).

2022 12 09

Firstly, investing in relationships has led me to rethink how I view power. Effective managers devote 50 to 60 percent of their time to building and maintaining networks. I can encourage collaborative behavior by fostering communication and demonstrating my commitment to teamwork. This isn't about engaging in office politics; rather, it's about leveraging influence to enhance team effectiveness. Leading diverse teams requires balancing different priorities effectively. Building a support network and motivating people to take action necessitates investing time to build rapport.

For example, Sergio de Mello, a Brazilian United Nations diplomat who worked on various UN humanitarian and political programs, prioritized the dignity of citizens. Local staff members were unaccustomed to receiving such a level of respect from foreigners. His investment in this regard significantly increased his effectiveness. He even learned the native language, recognizing that language is the key to understanding a people's culture, and culture is the key to winning people's hearts. This approach allowed him to gain the sympathy of the people and invest in the relationship.

Secondly, building a reputation for performance made me realize its importance in acquiring influence and power. Team leaders should be both relationship-oriented and result-oriented, as both are crucial for successfully leading a team. People tend to give credit to and follow leaders who have a strong track record of accomplishing tasks and achieving positive outcomes. This means that my name needs to be associated with quality work. I must not only do what I say I will do but also do it well. This focus should be on tasks with the most significant impact. Power is legitimately earned when a leader delivers actual value.

For instance, Robert Moses, an American urban planner and public official who worked in the New York metropolitan area, gained access to levers of power primarily because of a reputation for performance that was built over decades. He was known as the "Man Who Got Things Done." He demonstrated leadership principles that earned him trust and enabled him to deliver results.

Overall, upon self-reflection, I've found that there's a sweet spot between focusing on relationships and results, both of which are critical aspects of influence and power.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn