Our Positive Power and Influence Program focuses on the use of personal, not positional power. Many people use their positional power in very productive ways. However, if the number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their bosses, it would indicate that people in positions of power do not use that power very effectively.

We have traditional power relationships, like manager to direct report, but we also have power relationships with suppliers and partners. It is interesting to me that so many organizations give lip service to developing positive relationships with suppliers and win-win negotiations. The problem is that if procurement has specific objectives concerning money spent, and they are in a power position due to size, they still seem to act as if they can say or do anything without worrying about damaging the relationship. The assumption is that there’s always another supplier around the corner… right?

What happens to the business when the buyer is heavy handed?  The supplier will find a way to make their money as they have to!  During one of the many recessions I have lived through, I remember a story about suppliers in the auto industry. The suppliers were told that they had to reduce their prices by 15% across the board. This particular supplier dropped their prices on their standard products by the requested amount. However, they raised their prices for customized pieces to make up for the shortfall in profitability.

Today, everyone is under pressure to make andsave money.  We all want to be profitable and stay in business.  Beware of using your positional power for short-term gains as you could be sacrificing long-term savings, productivity and loyalty.  If you can successfully partner with the people you need: employees, customers, and suppliers, this begins to create a “we are all in this together” atmosphere which will significantly increase the chances for positive business outcomes.

Written by Sherri Malouf