Leadership Nudge® 124 – Flatten the Power Gradient admin October 25, 2016

Leadership Nudge® 124 – Flatten the Power Gradient


Today we are talking about the concept of the power gradient. The power gradient is how much more authority or power does a person higher in the hierarchy feel like they have compared to someone lower in the hierarchy. Or, how much less do the people below me feel like they have? You want to have an optimal power gradient.

Proxies for the power gradient can be salaries, office size, or a myriad of other things, but it is really about the feeling I have when I go in and talk to my boss.

Power gradients that are too steep are not healthy for the organization. People in this environment are intimidated and are afraid to talk to their bosses. Totally flat power gradients are also not optimal. In those environments there is confusion about who gets to make what decisions, and it is a little bit of a mess.

An excellent metaphor for the power gradient is that of a river. You want a gently flowing river. Too steep and you have rapids. Too shallow and you have a stagnant river.

Our Leadership Nudge to you this week is this:

Think about the power gradient in your organization. It will be very difficult for you to affect the power gradient up, but you can definitely affect the power gradient for the people who work for you. If you think it might be a little bit steep, take actions to flatten the power gradient. Go to their level, visit their shops, their offices, their cubicles. Let them sit in your chair so that they feel a little bit closer to you.

Let us know what how it goes!

Enroll for the Leadership Nudge –  www.davidmarquet.com

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