How do you stop wasting energy on "Power Plays" between people and teams?
This is a great question that came from one of my coaching clients a couple weeks ago. Right after I received his question another person I've coached sent me an email with a couple of excellent suggestions on decreasing power plays.
Before I give you his suggestions it's imperative that we consider the effect of power plays on our energy and productivity. The best way to achieve understanding is to approach it from your own personal experience. First, can you recall a conflict or power struggle you had with someone in the last few weeks? Did it result in any real increase in performance or productivity for you or your team? Did it increase or decrease your energy level? In other words, was it a waste of time and energy or did it save time or increase energy? If the answer is "Yes" I suggest you were not in a power play. All of us get into disagreements from time to time. If the answer is "No" you might want to consider the suggestion below.
Energy Performance Tip: Most often when people get into power plays they are playing with power. In reality during power plays the real issue is who is "right" and who is "wrong." While these two individuals are playing with who has the most power productivity is being neglected. Here are the suggestions from my coaching client. First, leadership "must" communicate to people that we focus our energy on solutions and not on who is more powerful on the team. When disagreements occur we are to focus on finding the solution. Leadership sets the standard for how conflict is resolved. If the leader plays power games, so will the employees.
Second, listen with concern when issues or differences of opinions arise. Sometimes people make statements when in reality they are asking a question or seeking assistance.
Clarify the issue by asking, "What needs to happen to get the job done properly?" If you want to make suggestions use this approach, "Have you considered...?" Both of these questions show a great deal more respect for the other person.
Third, be considerate of others by being focused and punctual on getting your job completed so they can get their job completed. Putting things off or passing responsibility increases the probability of power plays.
"Generosity gives assistance, rather than advice."
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."
- Ben Sweetland
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
- Norman MacEwan
Best to you all,
Dr. Robert A. Rausch