The Influence Model at Work

Moving a Tough Boss

Is there any way to resurrect a relationship that seems to have “gone south”? The following actual situation illustrates how using the Cohen-Bradford Influence Model can turn around what appears to be an irreconcilable impasse. (One of the authors was able to debrief each of the parties; the dialogue is reconstructed from their combined memory of the conversation.)

This example involves Warren, the president of U.S. Operations at a large, multinational corporation, and Doug, the national sales manager for the United States who reports directly to Warren—and who isn’t happy about how Warren manages him. The two men had a conversation about the sales operation and it did not go well. Doug then decided to go to Warren’s office again to discuss their troubled relationship—and the discussion turned out worse than their earlier conversation.

Doug: Warren, have you got some time? I want to talk about that meeting we had the other day. We need to deal with the way we work together. I think it’s interfering with our ability to get things done.

Warren: You’re probably right about that. Go on.

Doug: I’ve been in sales for over 15 years now, but you treat me like a new hire, and question my judgment every time I do something. I’m a national sales manager, and I want to make decisions in my own area. You seem to be constantly looking over my shoulder and micromanaging me.

Warren: Well Doug, now that you’ve mentioned it, I can’t always ...

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