Influencing Powerful People – #12
Probably, most people should not work for powerful people. When I use the words powerful people, I mean people who:
- hold positions of power over us,
- are driven to meet their goals [not ours], and
- put lots of pressure on us as we try to do work for them.
In his book, ‘Influencing Powerful People‘, Dirk Schlimm provides 16 major strategies and dozens of suggestions on how we can improve our ability to work with powerful people.
He also advises, “Deciding not to work for or with a powerful person is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom.”
That piece of advice triggered a memory – I once heard an educational guru speak words like, “People can behave in offensive ways, however, you do not have to be offended.” The point was, some people behave in ways that others consider offensive. That’s a choice they make. You have the ability to either be offended or not be offended by their behaviour. That’s a choice you make.
I get that message and acknowledge it is accurate thinking and good advice. Here’s an article I wrote on this topic a few years ago.
While the advice is good, often, in real-life situations people cannot control their emotions and as a result they become offended when others behave offensively. Most people become offended when their powerful bosses behave offensively. The state of our emotions and our skills at self-control determine the outcome.
So, if we find ourselves getting anxious and stressed out because our bosses behave in ways that trigger our fears and bad emotional responses, we should remember Dirk’s advice.
“Deciding not to work for or with a powerful person is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom.”
We can choose to not work for that boss.
This gives us at least 3 options:
- Choose to learn Dirk’s strategies and tactics for changing how we behave so we do better when dealing with powerful people.
- Choose to follow Dirk’s advice as captured in the above quote and stop working for the powerful boss.
- Choose to carry on as is and continue to have miserable work experiences.
Clearly, that last option is the poorest of the 3.