Brief 

People at all levels of an organization wield different types of situational power, with different consequences for the two participants, writes Josh Levs. Workshops focused on “power consciousness” can help co-workers understand and navigate perceived power issues.

 

Insight

People at all levels of an organization wield different types of situational power, with different consequences for the two participants, writes Josh Levs. Workshops focused on “power consciousness” can help co-workers understand and navigate perceived power issues.

iscussion was no big deal — to you. To your colleague, however, it was. He had spent hours exploring different possibilities for how to advance the project, and had a dozen reasons his idea made sense. He didn’t tell you this, though. If he had, you would have evaluated it fairly and quite possibly concluded that his idea was better. Why didn’t he?

The answer lies in his perceptions of you. He has seen your positive interactions with C-suite executives, and senses that you have greater pull in the organization. He assumes that means you also know more about what the organization is aiming to achieve. In his eyes, you have greater power.

Research has found that perceptions of power in the workplace can become a critical factor in determining how people respond to situations. And the power at issue does not necessarily correspond to official hierarchies.

 

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