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Influencing Change at Work – Three Sources of Power

How effective are you at influencing others to achieve work goals?  Are you politically savvy? How is power and influence used where you work?

The ability to influence others to get work done is a critical workplace competency. Inspiring leadersknow how to motivate others to achieve sustainable business results. They relish engaging moments with their people creating a culture of trust and achievement.

Sources of Power

There are three sources of power in an organization: positional, relational and personal:

1. Positional power: Your title and job status confer some level of formal power. You are authorized to act within a certain scope, but it’s seldom sufficient to get things done.

2. Relationships:Informal power stems from the relationships and alliances you form with others. If you do a favor for someone, the law of reciprocity impacts your relationship. Coalitions and alliances increase your relational power.

3. Personal: Some people generate power based on their knowledge, expertise, technical competencies and ability to articulate ideas or a vision that others will follow. Your communication skills, charisma and trustworthiness help determine your personal power.

Open to Influence

Power often expresses itself as influence: the ability to change, direct or affect others’ behavior without barking orders or threatening them.

Ironically, executives and managers who are open to peers’ and subordinates’ input garner greater respect than those who resist others’ influence. An openness to influence demonstrates trust and respect, which become reciprocal and contagious.

With greater openness comes access to information and insights about the environment. You’re therefore privy to signals when something isn't working, and you can rapidly adjust. Influence becomes a two-way street.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development? Does your organization provide executive coaching to help leaders improve their ability to influence others and get work done? Leaders at all levels need to improve their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I able to influence others based on mutual trust?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching for leaders who help their employees to improve their ability to influence others.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become more influential. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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