Do not rely on granted power

"I distrust all systemizers and avoid them: the will to a system is a lack of integrity."


The use of granted power as a primary force in leadership limits relationships. It excludes the possibility of exchanging ideas, and it places the focus on the use of force, rather than smarts. While there are situations when use of autocratic power is required, good leaders keep that sword in its scabbard as much as possible. As soon as you draw it, no one is listening to you anymorethey're listening to the sword. Worse, everyone around you will draw their own swords to respond to yours. Instead of explaining to you why you are wrong, they will use their own granted power to challenge your power. This results in a competition of forces that has nothing to do with intelligence or a search for the best solution. Granted power (like the "dark side of the force") is temping because it's easier: you don't have to work as hard to get what you want.

I once faced a situation that put me at the crossroads of granted and earned power. It was during Internet Explorer 2.0, when I had my first major program management assignment. The first day I was introduced to the two programmers who I'd be working with, Bill and Jay. Jay was friendly, but Bill was quiet and intimidating. He was also very senior in the organization (a level 13 in the Microsoft jargon of the time, which meant he was about as senior as a programmer could be). I remember sitting in his office, looking at him across his desk. I'd been talking for 10 minutes and he'd said next to nothing. He just leaned back in his chair and stared at me.

I tried going to the whiteboard to see if that would help get Bill talking. No effect. He spoke up only to say sarcastic or ambiguously disconcerting things, like "Oh, is that so?" and "Wow...interesting you would think that." He was just toying with me, like a cat with a half-dead mouse. You see, I was just an arrogant 23-year-old; I had no idea what I was doing, despite how convinced I was that I could fake it. Bill, on the other hand, was a seasoned veteran who had gone through this routine dozens of times before. In fact, I'm sure there were only two thoughts running through his mind: "How on earth did I get stuck with the new guy?" and "Is he the first or second most stupid person I've ever met?" The encounter ended with me babbling in a "straight from the HR training video" sort of way about how great it was going to be to work together. (I'm sure this confirmed for him that I was, in fact, worthy of first place.)

At the time, a friend (another PM) gave me this advice: lay down the law. I should tell Bill that because I was the PM, and he was the programmer, he should do what I said regarding high-level decisions. This fit the Microsoft mythology of PMs ("get in my way and I will kill you") that I'd heard about, and so I rallied up the courage to go try and live up to it. But before I drew my sword and charged up the hill, I chatted with my manager. Between good-natured laughs, he said not to do anything so rash. He reminded me that Bill was smart and knowledgeable about his areas, and I should find a way to make use of that. He also added that working with Bill would be, as he put it, "good for me." Trusting my manager, despite his laughter, I put my sword away and approached the problem from the standpoint of getting as much value out of Bill as possible.

Understanding SEO Help People Find Your Business

Understanding SEO Help People Find Your Business

So what does SEO stand for and what does it do for your offline business? Search Engine Optimization is the official title and you can see why it is commonly abbreviated. If you are wondering about SEO then you either have a new website or are considering setting one up. SEO comes in to play once your site is live on the web. After all you now have to get visitors to actually see your site. In SEO terms attracting visitors is known as generating traffic and this can be achieved by using search engine optimization tactics.

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