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How Power and Politics Affect Conflict > Identifying Your Power

Identifying Your Power

To become better at managing conflict with your peers, examine the authority and power you exert in your organization and in your relationships with colleagues. For example, you may have power related to your expertise in an area the organization considers critical. Consider the kinds of power you have and then describe them using the guidelines on page 22. Think also about your peers and the power they might need to access and which you can provide. Consider unorthodox power sources. You collect a certain amount of power, for example, by praising people’s work in front of others. You might have power based on your office location. The descriptions listed here aren’t a complete picture of organizational and personal power, but only an example. You can work with your own labels and descriptions. Record your responses in a journal so you can return to them and look for patterns and lessons. This process can help you see where you might encounter conflict and how you might fare in a conflict situation.

Locating Organizational Power

For each of the descriptions listed below, describe what this power looks like by recording your responses in a journal. Some things to think about: Which of your peers is affected by your use of this power? Who needs to tap into your power source? Who else in the organization is affected by your use of this power? Why do they need access to your power source? What effect might this power have in managing a conflict with your peers? Ask the same questions about the peer with whom you’re in conflict.

Formal Power: Personal Assessment

Position. Your department is closer to your organization’s center of power than your peer’s department.

Mission critical. Your organization places a high value on a task or project for which you are responsible.

Informal Power: Personal Assessment

Expertise. You have specific skills, knowledge, and experience.

Network. You have supportive connections with others in the organization.

Influence. You have a personal rapport with people that inspires them.

Information. You have formal and informal communication channels that keep you “in the loop” about important organization developments.



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