Working With Powerful People

Manage Your Relationships for Maximum Satisfaction

Dealing with people in authority

© iStockphoto/spxChrome

Being able to work well with powerful people is a critical work skill. If you can do it, you'll shine as a potential future star. If you can't, your career will quickly stall.

To be good at working with powerful people, you need to recognize that, although you may be in a subordinate role, you can, and must, take action.

When you shift the burden of responsibility onto yourself, you gain the sense of control you need to make these relationships work.

Treating Powerful People as Stakeholders

Having got yourself into the right mindset, the first step is to identify who these people are in your work life, what they want and need from you, and what you want and need from them. In other words, you need to apply the tools and techniques of formal stakeholder management that are most often associated with project management.

The following steps are explained in more detail (in a project management context) in our articles on stakeholder analysis   and stakeholder management  :

Step 1: Identify Your Powerful Stakeholders

Identify the people in your life who have or could have an influence over your work and your career (both positive and negative). Concentrate on those inside your organization, but include any key external individuals too, such as the account manager in a long-term customer organization.

Step 2: Map Your Stakeholders

Mark these people on a Power/Interest Grid...

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