Monday, November 28, 2022

Empowering Others to do their best work

Insight 1 of 4 with Tiziana Casciaro

Award-Winning Organizational Behaviorist & University of Toronto Professor


 We equate authority and power, but they’re not one and the same. Some people wield a lot of power even though their title may not suggest it. This is because power comes from control over the resources that people value and that they need and want. As the boss, you have resources that people want, and you control them: a promotion, a budget, an attractive project. But there will be people who have other resources that you might need. It could be information, or a network, and, without knowledge of them, you as leader are going to be cut out of a very important resource. That makes you dependent on them. We tend to personalize power, but nothing is further from the truth: power is always situated in a relationship. It’s all relative, and it shifts over time.

Power is not a zero sum game. We tend to think that if we share some of our power, we’re automatically going to lose power. That’s not how it works. The asymmetrical power that exists because of an imbalance—whether in relation to your employees or suppliers, or, for a country, between the people that have the most and those who have the least—is detrimental to the system in the long run.

A leader in an organization will be personally better off when they allow others to also exercise some power over them. By sharing power with others, they will give them the tools to do their best work. In the long run, you will benefit as well, as opposed to feeling attached to your own power and wanting to control the behavior of others. Giving

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