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Influence without Authority, Second Edition by David L. Bradford, Allan R. Cohen

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Chapter 9. Influencing Difficult Subordinates

Is a chapter on influencing subordinates necessary? Anyone managing people today knows that not all problems can be solved by giving orders or directly exercising position power. Especially with knowledge workers, but increasingly with all employees,command and control have major limitations. Do you know everything your subordinates do? Is their work easily observed? Would you be able to tell easily whether they are giving their all? Can't they covertly undermine you if they decide to resist your leadership? And finally, can you think of every contingency for every issue, so that you can give clear, unambiguous, and appropriate direction in advance? Few leaders have so much knowledge and control.

Furthermore, the greater the talent and creativity of those who work for you, the greater is the likelihood that they will have idiosyncrasies that can be irritating or disruptive to others in the organization. They may not want to keep regular hours, dress like others, come to meetings, stop working on projects that have been killed, do routine tasks or complete paperwork, and so on. They often have a maddening tendency to want to do things their way. If they are extremely talented and valuable, this poses a dilemma. You don't want to lose them, but it would be desirable to influence their behavior.

Core Influence Concepts

The Cohen-Bradford Influence model still applies to dealing with subordinates, over whom you have some power, but not total ...

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