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HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across

September 5, 2022

Managing Up and Across Excerpts



Managing Your Boss:

This relationship can be problematic for two reasons. First, a boss plays conflicting roles: supporter and evaluator, which can create confusion. Second, people often bring their past experiences with authority into the relationship, which can create unnecessary complications.


Don’t presume your boss is always one or the other, judge or coach. Instead, think of his dual roles as extremes between which he moves back and forth depending on the situation. At first, in small ways that aren’t risky, test his willingness to provide support.


… history may lead you to perceive your current boss not as who she is but as an amalgam of past authority figures, with all the positive and negative feelings that flow from this past. Unless you’re aware of these feelings, you’ll be at their mercy.


Both antagonism to authority and too much deference will keep you from seeing your boss clearly and realistically and prevent you from securing the work and personal benefits available from a good relationship.


Do you realize that your relationship is actually one of mutual dependence?


Don’t assume you can make significant differences in how your boss thinks or operates. Most likely, the best you can do is nudge her in directions that work better for you.


…It’s not just the results how obtain but how you attain them.


No boss likes to be surprised or seem ignorant of something she should know. If you must err, do it on the side of over informing.


…loyal people earn the right to question and disagree on occasion. Those who speak up only when they disagree will usually enjoy less influence than those who have demonstrated prior support.


Your task is to make both of you effective.


If you feel micromanaged, the reason may be that you’ve neglected to establish real trust.


Make sure your boss knows your goals and plans and agrees with them. Ideally, she had a hand in creating them.


Do you know enough that you’re able to see the world through his eyes?


Do you know how your boss prefers to make decisions, and do you work within that pattern?


Do you know and respect the way your boss likes to work?


When you approach your boss, do you expect guidance or answers?


Do you present a problem and expect your boss to solve it? Many bosses resist that approach. Instead, try going in with a problem, and analysis, alternatives, and recommendation he can react to.


…your boss’s strengths are what you must leverage, and you cannot leverage what you don’t recognize or appreciate.  Whatever your boss’s weaknesses, identify what she does well. What is it, and how can you use it to learn and do your work more effectively?


Negotiate what you need from your boss. Don’t make him guess…Be sure you know where the boundaries are.



…you must first communicate your desire to learn. Then, you must agree about how and where you want to grow – what competencies you need to develop, such as building a network, making a plan, managing performance, or assessing subordinates. Have reasonable expectations. Take responsibility for your own development.


Be aware that cultures differ in their expectations and treatment of people with authority.


Avoid seeing yourself as a passive, powerless, subordinate. Don’t assume it cannot be a positive, mutually helpful relationship until you’ve tested the possibilities on several occasions.


Winning Over Your New Boss

Leaders are brought in to shake up the status quo, so you’ll want to make it clear right away that you’re a valuable contributor.


… You’re just as responsible as your new boss for the quality of the working alliance.


Find out who the new boss is, how she likes to work, what she doesn’t yet know that you can help her learn. Answer her questions candidly as well, and don’t be so tightly clenched that you fail to let the boss see who you are.


Advice for making crucial early encounters successful:

  • Ease into the relationship – think incrementally
  • Observe her style – shape the way you present yourself and your ideas
  • Consider others claims on her attention – take account of how other key stakeholders might affect her agenda
  • Collaborate – help her form opinions on issues of importance to you, her, and the group
  • Be honest – look for openings to provide helpful candor on some key aspect of the new boss’s agenda
  • Accommodate her preferences – the more you can learn about how she would like to be supported, the faster you can help develop new systems that work for her


The best advice I can give… Is just to be yourself and be transparent.


Candor goes hand in glove with confidentiality.


You make your recommendation as forcefully as you can. And once the decision is made, you have to snap around and say, ‘OK here we go.’ And sometimes people can’t (make that pivot) -they get strident. And sometimes they have to leave the team.


The agenda for change may stretch farther than you and others are willing to go.


How you can help your boss get up to speed:

  • Save her some time – Help your boss identify colleagues whose expertise will help her meet her goals
  • Save her some trouble – share shortcuts through the administrative mazes that drive every newbie crazy
  • Save her some work – there may be something on the boss’s plate that you can take or at least help with.


Sometimes…telling comments slip out. File these away as possible clues to the mysterious future


Make sure the boss knows he can count on you, what he can count on you for, and that you’re there to help make the transition as easy as possible. Be explicit about that. And get to him early – don’t wait for him to come to you.


Steps For presenting problems or opportunities to your boss

None of us likes to deliver a difficult message, but it can be a valuable tool for building a trusting relationship with your boss. You know that you should never bring a problem to your boss without a proposed solution.


Five steps to take the next time you need to deliver bad news or a promising opportunity:

  1. Describe the problem or opportunity to your boss
  2. Identify your solution or approach
  3. Explain the implications
  4. Discuss the benefits
  5. Accept responsibility for the outcome


Manage Up with Your Mentor’s Guidance

Mentors can help you navigate your company’s political landscape and introduce you to key people so you can branch out. And they’ll get you thinking like a senior executive long before you’re anointed as a member of the upper ranks – which will prepare you for that metamorphosis.


Know who the thought leaders are across the organization, get to know them personally, and show them how your ideas can further their business agendas. Mentors can also help you communicate your ideas to senior executives, who juggle many demands and don’t have time to wait through a sea of PowerPoint slides.


They (mentors) can provide insight into the high – level challenges your boss faces and suggest realistic ways of supporting his goals… Also try asking a mentor for help processing and incorporating feedback from your boss.


They (mentors) can help you develop your personal brand – which will make it clearer which battles you should take on.


Making sure your mentor gets value out of working with you is obviously good practice for managing up…If you find ways to give as well as receive, your mentor will take note – and become all the more invested in your development.


Change The Way You Persuade

There are five common but distinct decision-making styles: charismatic, thinker, skeptic, follower, and controller.


Get to Know your Boss’s Boss

Does your boss’s boss know you well? Is she impressed with you? Does she know exactly what you do? If you can’t answer these questions with a yes, you’re missing out on career opportunities.


Ways to earn attention and respect from your boss’s boss:

  • Interact with her – treat her like the very important customer she is.
  • Reach out to her – touch base when opportunities arise.
  • Tap her for advice – email her to ask for input on courses you’re thinking of taking, professional organizations you’re considering joining, and more.
  • Extend an invitation – do you have an interesting guest coming in for meeting? Are you giving a presentation? Is your manager leading a training session? Ask your boss if you should invite his boss.
  • Pass along praise
  • Volunteer for a cross functional team
  • Fix the problem – if you find a way to make an improvement that furthers a business objective or supports a corporate value, act on it-and share the results with your boss’s boss.


How to Make your Boss Look Good – Without Becoming a Sycophant

Understanding your boss is vital. But researching, knowing, and appreciating your boss’s boss ought to give you valuable insight into what makes your boss effective – and frustrated.


If you saw your boss as a brand, how would you sell that brand to the ultimate consumer – your boss’s boss?


Stop Being Micromanaged

If you reduce your micro manager’s stress, you may be able to secure the autonomy you need.


Micromanagement can make you feel inept, but typically it has nothing to do with your performance. It’s more about your boss’s level of internal anxiety and need to control situations than anything about you.


… All controlling bosses are not the same. On one end of the spectrum are managers with very high standards. They may regularly have you rework something that doesn’t measure up… At the other end of the spectrum are people described as pathological micro managers who need to make it clear to themselves and others that they are in charge.


You know you’re working with a pathological micro manager if he gets involved in a level of detail that is way below his pay grade.


Railing against micromanagement isn’t productive. If you push back in one way or another – passively or aggressively – your manager may conclude that you can’t be trusted and get more involved… Instead, try to understand what’s causing your bosses behavior.


You need to make a conscious effort to earn your managers trust by succeeding in the dimensions that he cares about most. You absolutely, positively must deliver and deliver in a way that doesn’t increase your boss’s stress.


Another tactic is to talk to your boss – before a project starts – about how he’ll be involved… If the discussion becomes overly focused on detail, try to bring it back to the principles and approach you agreed on.


Remember that micro managers are often motivated by anxiety. Address that concern by keeping your manager informed of your project’s progress. Schedule regular check-ins to help her feel part of the process.


Focus your feedback on how his behavior affects the process. Can you tweak his involvement so that he gets the information he needs without becoming a roadblock?


Principles to remember

  • Do everything you can to gain the micromanagers trust
  • Know what worries your boss and try to reduce her concerns
  • Provide regular and detailed updates so your boss is aware of your progress
  • Don’t defy the micromanager – that often triggers more of the behavior trying to avoid


Dealing with your Incompetent Boss

…There’s a difference between water cooler griping and paralyzing frustration, just as there is a clear distinction between a manager with a few flaws and one who is truly incompetent.


Before you declare your boss useless, check your bias and better understand what you’re seeing. When you’re looking at your boss, the first thing you need to do before you judge is to look at yourself…Also be cautious about your judgment until you collect all the evidence… By learning more about your boss and developing empathy for him, you may re-evaluate his competence.


Look to peers or people outside the organization for advice and a place to vent. This doesn’t mean indiscriminate moaning about your boss.


Figure out where she excels and then find ways to pair your strengths with her weaknesses


When you request something from her – be specific about what you need. And do as much of the work for her as you can.


Rather than give up on an ineffectual boss, focus on what you can do to make up the difference.


Write your own job description and articulate goals for the quarter or year. Send them to your boss and ask to review them together. In person, you can then confirm your priorities and understand her expectations.


We can come to work every day and pay attention to this horrible boss, or we can choose to pay attention to the people we are happy to see every day and the work we enjoy. We can choose which emotions we lean into.


Identify a mentor who can provide you with the feedback and instruction you aren’t getting from your boss


Coping with a Conflict-Adverse Boss

Having a defensive and conflict-averse boss doesn’t mean you can never disagree with him. When an issue crops up, frame it in terms that will get the best results for your business. Play devil’s advocate. Ask lots of “what if?” questions.


If you need to talk about a difficult issue with your boss, focus on the problem, not the people.


If you want your boss to use her authority on your behalf, give her everything she needs to build her case…


If your boss dreads face to face conversations, especially performance reviews, send him emails and brief documents outlining your key accomplishments and areas of development. This will make it easier for him to engage in a productive conversation with you – rather than coming up with the documentation on his own.


Propose that a little debate might help stoke the team’s creativity and that setting ground rules for such discussions would ensure that they’re productive.


If you know that your boss will find a conversation awkward or unpleasant, don’t rush into it. Instead, open with a neutral non-threatening icebreaker.


How To Give Your Boss Feedback

Providing feedback to your boss, commonly called upward feedback, is a tricky process to master. But if you offer it correctly, your insight can not only help your boss, it can also improve your relationship with her.


… The higher up an organizational leader sits, the harder it is to get honest feedback. Your input can help your boss see himself as others see him and help him to make critical adjustments in his behavior and approach.


The ability to give and receive upward feedback depends on the level of trust between you and your boss… As with any feedback, your intentions must be good, and your desire to help your boss should supersede any issues you may have with her.


Even if you have a great relationship, don’t launch into unsolicited feedback. If your boss doesn’t directly request feedback, ask if she would like it.


Focus your feedback on what you’re actually seeing or hearing, not what you would do as the boss.


Good feedback rules still apply. Your feedback should be honest, specific, and data-driven. Open with something positive and then offer constructive comments along with suggestions for improvement. Avoid accusations.


No matter how thoughtfully you’ve prepared and delivered your feedback, your boss may get upset or defensive. Sometimes reframing it in terms of what your boss cares most about can help.


If you’re not sure your boss wants feedback or if the subject in question is sensitive, it’s better not to speak up. Don’t work risk your working relationship or your job. Instead, look for opportunities to comment anonymously…


Managing Multiple Bosses

Three common challenges of working with more than one person:

  1. Overload – with several people assigning you work, one of the greatest risks is simply having too much to do.
  2. Conflicting messages – the more bosses you have, the more conflicting messages you get.
  3. Loyalty – some bosses want to know that they’re you’re first priority


When your bosses work remotely or when you do, you need to over communicate to make up for the lack of face to face-to-face time. Rely on technology to help you. Make your calendar viewable to those outside the office or use a web-based tool such as Google Calendar. This will allow all your bosses to know where you are even when they can’t see you.


If only one of your bosses is remote, don’t inadvertently cater to the boss whom you see more often, and make sure that distant manager knows you’re meeting his needs, too.


You can create a shared document that lists all your ongoing tasks and projects, or you can communicate these items in weekly check in meetings.


Whether you need to resolve contradictory directions, reduce your workload, or sort out inconsistent demands, the best approach is to get your bosses to talk with each other, rather than trying to represent one’s agenda to the other.


If your multiple bosses frequently come to you with questions or to check in about their projects, establish protected times period…You can block out times in your calendar for work on certain projects. Before taking on a new project, remind your boss is that you’ll need to assess how it fits into your overall workload.



Managing Across

Managing across – with peers, vendors, or consultants – is complex. You don’t have a say in their reviews or decide if they get promoted. So, you need to use other tactics, such as setting mutually beneficial goals, establishing your credibility, polishing your powers of persuasion, and tapping into your network.


What Makes A Leader?

Managing across requires emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.



To be sure, intellect was a driver of outstanding performance. Cognitive skills such as big picture thinking and long-term vision were particularly important. But when I calculated the ratio of technical skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as ingredients of excellent performance, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels…Moreover, my analysis showed that emotional intelligence played an increasingly important role at the highest levels of the company, where differences in technical skills are of negligible importance. In other words, the higher the rank of a person considered to be a star performer, the more emotional intelligence capabilities showed up as the reason for his or her effectiveness.


Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest – with themselves and with others… People who have a high degree of self-awareness recognize how their feelings affect them, other people, and their job performance.


Self-awareness extends to a person’s understanding of his or her values and goals. Someone who is highly self-aware knows where he is headed and why.


How can one recognize self-awareness? First and foremost, it shows itself as candor and an ability to assess oneself realistically.


Such self-knowledge often shows itself in the hiring process. Ask a candidate to describe a time he got carried away by his feelings and did something he later regretted. Self-aware candidates will be frank in admitting to failure – and will often tell the tales with a smile.

Self-awareness can also be identified during performance reviews. Self-aware people know – and are comfortable talking about – their limitations and strengths, and they often demonstrate a thirst for constructive criticism. By contrast, people with low self-awareness interpret the message that they need to improve as a threat or sign of failure.


Self-aware people can also be recognized by their self-confidence. They have a firm grasp of their capabilities and are less likely to set themselves up to fail by, for example, overstretching on assignments.


Self-regulation, which is like an ongoing inner conversation, is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoners of our feelings. People engaged in such a conversation feel bad moods and emotional impulses just as everyone else does, but they find ways to control them and even to channel them in useful ways.


Why does self-regulation matter so much for leaders? First of all, people who are in control of their feelings and impulses – that is, people who are reasonable – are able to create an environment of trust and fairness… Second, self-regulation is important for competitive reasons. People who have mastered their emotions are able to roll with the changes. When a new program is announced, they don’t panic; Instead, they are able to suspend judgment, seek out information, and listen to the executives as they explain the new program.


Many of the bad things that happen in companies are a function of impulsive behavior.


The signs of emotional self-regulation, therefore, are easy to see: a propensity for reflection and thoughtfulness; Comfort with ambiguity and change; and integrity – and ability to say no to impulsive urges.


… Extreme displays of negative emotion have never emerged as a driver of good leadership.


If there is one trait that virtually all effective leaders have, it is motivation. They are driven to achieve beyond expectations – their own and everyone else’s.

If you are looking for leaders, how can you identify people who are motivated by the drive to achieve rather than external rewards? The first sign is a passion for the work itself – such people seek out creative challenges, love to learn, and take great pride in a job well done. They also display an unflagging energy to do things better…They are forever raising the performance bar, and they like to keep score.


… An employee who combines self-awareness with internal motivation will recognize her limits – but she won’t settle for objectives that seem too easy to fulfill. Whereas people with low achievement motivation are often fuzzy about results, those with high achievement motivation often keep score by tracking such hard measures as profitability or market share.


Interestingly, people with high motivation remain optimistic even when the score is against them. In such cases, self-regulation combines with achievement motivation to overcome the frustration and depression that come after a setback or failure.


Executives trying to recognize high levels of achievement motivation in their people can look for one last piece of evidence: commitment to the organization. When people love their jobs for the work itself, they often feel committed to the organizations that make the work possible.


…empathy means thoughtfully considering an employee’s feelings -along with other factors – in the process of making intelligent decisions.


Empathy is particularly important today as a component of leadership for at least three reasons: the increasing use of teams; The rapid pace of globalization; And the growing need to retain talent.


Cross-cultural dialogue can easily lead to miscues and misunderstandings. Empathy is an antidote. People who have it are attuned to subtleties in body language; They can hear the message beneath the words being spoken.


Social skill is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire, whether that’s agreement on a new marketing strategy or enthusiasm about a new product.

Socially skilled people tend to have a wide circle of acquaintances, and they have a knack for finding common ground with people of all kinds – a knack for building rapport.


… Socially skilled people may at times appear not to be working while at work. They seem to be idly schmoozing – chatting in the hallways with colleagues or joking around with people who are not even connected to the real jobs. Socially skilled people, however, don’t think it makes sense to arbitrarily limit the scope of their relationships.


Is social skill considered a key leadership capability in most companies? The answer is yes, especially compared with the other components of emotional intelligence. People seem to know intuitively that leaders need to manage relationships effectively; No leader is an island. After all, the leader’s task is to get work done through other people, and social skill makes that possible.


The Discipline of Teams

A team’s essential discipline includes these characteristics:

  1. A meaningful common purpose the team helped shape – most teams are responding to an initial corporate mandate. But to be successful, your team must “own” this purpose by developing its own spin on it
  2. Specific performance goals that flow from the common purpose – Developing compelling and measurable goals will inspire and challenge your team and inject a sense of urgency. Shared goals also have a leveling effect. They require everyone to focus on their collective effort rather than any differences in their titles or status
  3. A strong commitment to how the work gets done – Your team must agree on who will do what jobs, how you establish and honor schedules, and how you will make and modify decisions.
  4. Mutual accountability – The process of creating and agreeing upon purpose and goals helps your team members forge their accountability to one another – not just to you, the leader


Managing Remote Relationships

Whether you’re managing a remote employee, working peer-to-peer, or partnering with someone at another company, it helps to frankly discuss the challenges as you both see them. Clarify expectations up front, and the remote work will become more productive – and happier.

Without peers in the next cubicle to informally guide them, remote employees will make basic mistakes early on, despite their good intentions, so it’s also crucial to be candid with them… Help them correct course before a few innocent, early errors become a troublesome pattern of behavior.


Set up regular times to catch up on the phone.


Keep a running list of things to share with your remote colleagues or partners; don’t assume they’re copied on important announcements about your company or division.


Sometimes even little details are critical to share – the fact that someone has had a death in the family, for example, or is under the gun for a big project deadline…


… Respect your remote colleagues’ after-hours time. Set up reminders in your calendar to get in touch with remote colleagues while they’re still on the clock, and don’t ask them to join late calls if you can easily brief them the next day. Be clear about which meetings they can skip. There’ll be much happier to take an occasional urgent call at 11:00 p.m. if most of your business is conducted at times that suit you both.


When you can, take advantage of time differences. As a manager, I loved assigning work to someone in an earlier time zone because when I came in the next morning, it would be in my inbox, ready for my attention.


To integrate with the team that’s located somewhere else, you have to be fearless about picking up the phone, asking to be briefed, and telling people when conference calls won’t work in your time zone. You have to keep on top of a schedule when no one is around to remind you of important meetings or events. Self-starters required.


Think about your colleagues and their project challenges, even when you’re not being asked to do so.


Even after you’ve established positive relationships and earned your colleagues trust, recognize that the burden is off and on you, the remote employee, to make things work. Show your colleagues what you bring to the table…


Work closely with the Home Office to establish expectations. Should you match your colleagues’ hours? Is it OK to be out for appointments without telling a manager? What matters more – being available or being entrepreneurial? And so on. Actually, ask those questions; Don’t just assume you know the answers.


Develop and maintain your network.


If possible, have your company occasionally fly you to headquarters or other key offices. Fill your time with meetings – breakfast, lunch, and dinner- to build relationships.


It’s virtually impossible to navigate a company’s spoken and unspoken rules without a guide. Have someone in the know walk you through the org chart and explain the company circles of influence to you…


…the key to success, on both sides of the relationship, is utter transparency and thinking ahead about what your colleagues most need from you.


A Smarter Way to Network

Steps to build a better network:

  1. Analyze– identify the benefits each of your existing network connections now provides
  2. De-layer– weed out connections that aren’t helping you, such as people who burn too much of your time.
  3. Diversify – fill the fresh openings in your network with people who can deliver the additional benefits you and your team need to accomplish your work


… Network size doesn’t usually matter. In fact, we found that individuals who simply know a lot of people are less likely to achieve stand up performance, because they’re spread too thin.

The executives who consistently rank in the top 20% of their companies in both performance and well-being have diverse but select networks…


Many people take a misguided approach to networking. They go astray by building imbalanced networks, pursuing the wrong kind of relationships, or leveraging relationships in effectively.


Another overarching mistake we often see in executives’ networks is an imbalance between connections that promote career advancement and those that promote engagement and satisfaction. Numerous studies have shown that happier executives are higher performing ones.


Effective core networks typically range in size from 12 to 18 people. But what really matters is structure: core connections must bridge smaller, more diverse kinds of groups and cross hierarchical, organizational, functional, and geographic lines. Core relationships should result in more learning, less bias in decision making, and greater personal growth and balance.


High performers have strong ties to:

  1. people who offer them new information or expertise
  2. formally powerful people, who provide mentoring, sensemaking, political support, and resources; And informally powerful people, who offer influence, help coordinating projects, and support among the rank and file.
  3. people who give them developmental feedback, challenge their decisions, and push them to be better. At an early career stage, an employee might get this from a boss or customer; Later, it tends to come from coaches, trusted colleagues, or spouse.


The most satisfied executives have ties to:

  1. people who provide personal support, such as colleagues who help them get back on track when they’re having a bad day or friends with whom they can just be themselves.
  2. people had a sense of purpose or worth, such as bosses and customers who validate their work, and family members and other stakeholders you showed them work has a broader meaning.
  3. people who promote the work life balance, holding them accountable for activities that improve their physical health, mental engagement, or spiritual well-being.


Energizers bring out the best in everyone around them… These people aren’t necessarily extroverted or charismatic…There are people who always see opportunities, even in challenging situations, and create room for others to meaningfully contribute… Unfortunately, energy sapping interactions have more impact than energizing ones – up to seven times as much according to one study.


Classify your relationships by the benefits they provide. Generally, benefits fall into one of six categories: information, political support and influence, personal development, personal support and energy, a sense of purpose or worth, and work life balance.


… you need to make some hard decisions about which relationships to back away from. First, look at eliminating or minimizing contact with people who sap you of energy or promote unhealthful behaviors. The next step is to ask yourself which of the six categories have too many people in them… Beyond this, consider which individuals – and types of people as determined by function, hierarchy, or geography – have too much of you and why.


Write down three specific business results you hope to achieve over the next year and then list the people by name or general role who could help you with them, thanks to their expertise, control over resources, or ability to provide political support.


Reciprocal relationships also tend to be more fruitful; the most successful leaders always look for ways to give more to their contacts


How To Deal with Office Politics

How to navigate your political environment positively and professionally:

  • Focus on the good of the enterprise – a big picture of you will help you do what’s best for your group. Recognize your interdependence with other units and consider how your goals and there is align.
  • Keep disagreements professional – focus on issues, not personalities.
  • Share information – when it comes to information, you get what you give, and what you know depends on who you know.
  • Relay good news about your team members – don’t assume that everyone will automatically notice your group’s success. If you don’t mention it, who will?
  • Above all, focus your relationship on what’s best for us – let connect and collaborate be your mantra


If someone spreads half truths about you or quotes you or your people out of context, it’s much easier to set the record straight if you’ve developed influence through strong relationships…Raise the bar by conducting yourself according to standards that matter to you. Be honest, courteous, and dependable- no matter how others act.


Make Your Enemies Your Allies

When those with formal or informal power are fighting you, you may find it impossible to accomplish – or get credit for – any meaningful work. And even if you have the upper hand, an antagonistic relationship inevitably casts a cloud over you and your team, sapping energy, stymieing progress, and distracting group members from their goals.


… effective leaders turn rivals into collaborators – strengthening their positions, their networks, and their careers in the process.


3R Method for Efficiently and effectively turning your adversaries into your allies:

  • Redirection – step one is to redirect your rival’s negative emotion so that they’re channeled away from you.
  • Reciprocity – the essential principle here is to give before you ask. We’ve had carefully on what you should give and, ideally, choose something that requires little effort from the other party to reciprocate
  • Rationality – step 3, rationality, establishes the expectations of a fledgling relationship you felt using the previous steps so that your efforts don’t come off as dishonest or as ineffective pandering


When rationality follows redirection and reciprocity, it should push your adversary into considering the situation from a reasoned standpoint, fully comprehending the expectations and benefits, and recognizing that he is looking at a valued opportunity that could be lost. Most people are highly motivated to avoid a loss, which complements their desire to gain something. Rationality is like offering medicine after a spoonful of sugar: it ensures that you’re getting the benefit of the shifted negative emotions, and any growing positive ones, which would otherwise diffuse overtime.

What If the 3 Rs Fail?

  • Strive for collaboration and directly – for example, by working well with a third party whom your rival trusts. A common ally can highlight to him the benefit of working with you.
  • Remember that timing matters – people in power need a reason to interact.
  • Recognize when to look elsewhere – sometimes the effort needed to reverse a rivalry is so great, and the returns so low, for you and your company that you’re better off deploying the same resources in another relationship


The Necessary Art of Persuasion

Effective persuasion is a learning and negotiating process for leading your colleagues to a shared solution to a problem.


Four Step Persuasion Process:

  1. Establish credibility – Your credibility grows out of two sources: expertise and relationships. If you have a history of well-informed sound judgement, your colleagues will trust your expertise. If you’ve demonstrated that you can work in the best interest of others, your peers will have confidence in your relationships.
  2. Frame goals on common ground – tangibly describe the benefits of your position… When no shared advantages are apparent, adjust your position
  3. Vividly reinforce your position – ordinary evidence won’t do. Make numerical data more compelling with examples, stories, and metaphors that have an emotional impact.
  4. Connect emotionally – adjust your emotional tone to match your audience’s ability to receive your message. Learn how your colleagues have interpreted past events in the organization and sense how they will probably interpret your proposal.


Three Ways Not to Persuade

The three most common persuasion mistakes:

  1. They attempt to make their case with an upfront, hard cell. In reality, setting out a strong position at the start of a persuasion effort gives potential opponents something to grab onto- and fight against.
  2. They resist compromise. Before people buy into a proposal, they want to see that the persuader is flexible enough to respond to their concerns. Compromises can often make the better, more sustainable shared solutions. By not compromising, ineffective persuaders unconsciously send a message that they think persuasion is a one-way street.
  3. They assume persuasion is a one-shot effort. Persuasion is a process, not an event. Rarely, if ever, is it possible to arrive at a shared solution on the first try. More often than not, persuasion involves listening to people, testing a position, developing new position that reflects input from the group, more testing, incorporating compromises, and then trying again.


Harnessing The Science of Persuasion

Principles of Persuasion:

  • Liking: people like those like them, who like them. Win friends to similarity and praise.
  • Reciprocity: people repay in kind. Give what you want to receive.
  • Social proof: people follow the lead of similar others. Use peer power to influence horizontally not vertically
  • Consistency: people fulfill written, public, and voluntary commitments.
  • Authority: people defer to experts who provide shortcuts to decisions requiring specialized information. Don’t assume your expertise is self-evident. Instead, establish your expertise before doing business with new colleagues or partners.
  • Scarcity: people value what’s scarce. Use exclusive information to persuade. Influence and rivet key players attention…


How to Get Your Colleagues Attention:

How to frame your message to get the results you want:

  • Start with what you want – provide the most important information upfront and ask for what you need.
  • Set the scene – don’t dive too deep into details but provide enough context so audience can follow along.
  • Explain the complication – this is a specific reason for your meeting or e-mail. What prompted you to deliver the message?
  • Connect to the big picture – why should your audience care? Point out what is relevant to them and how it links to their broader goals
  • Make it memorable – people hear news and information all day long. Give them something to latch onto such as a metaphor, case statistic, or a sound bite
  • Refocus your audience’s attention – it’s easy for audiences to get distracted by secondary issues, so you must help them concentrate on a central objective
  • End with a call to action – once you’ve set the context, reiterate what it is you need from your audience.

When the Direct Approach Backfires, Try Indirect Influence

Approaches to use when direct management techniques don’t work:

  1. Talk less, listen more
  2. Make ‘em like you – Play up similarities. We tend to like people who share our background, interest, style of dress, etc. We also like people who like us. We’re suckers for compliments.
  3. Make ‘em laugh
  4. Do a favor- even a small one
  5. Feed ‘em