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How to know the important difference between power protecting and power over-protecting

*Note: Everything below are my opinions and interpretations and are open to feedback below.

Here are my thoughts:

Power-protecting: fielding requests

One and done works powerfully.

E.g.

Lucio: "Only leave a like on this video if you enjoyed it (if you enjoyed it = power-protecting)!"

Power over-protecting: fielding requests

Right now, my understanding is that power-protecting is used to give the receiver an "out". That way, they have the power and freedom to say "no" or walk away.

So, power over-protecting would be a case of giving someone too many outs.

E.g.

Lucio: "If you enjoyed this video (if you enjoyed this video = power-protecting), you can (you can = power over-protecting) leave a like!"

They already have their "out", so the "you can" becomes a bit redundant. In my opinion, it even leans toward the sort of deferential behavior Chris Voss might recommend for negotiations.

Exceptions

Power-protecting (from a leadership position): making decisions

When you're the clear leader, I think that giving the group too much power can lead to confusion and delayed action.

E.g.

Lucio: "Awesome, let's wait for someone else to join, and we'll try to fix a date/place."

When a decision needed to be made, instead of fielding a request, Lucio proposed a solution. And, it was implied that if anyone had an issue with that way forward, they could speak up.

In that example, Lucio was organizing an event, so he was the clear leader. And, that naturally made this move acceptable.

Had he opened up that decision to everyone, it could have taken away from his goal to organize a meetup in the faster way possible.

A case where this didn't work so well is when I was field testing the Dream Job program. I connected with the CEO of a startup and asked if I could get a few minutes of his time to see if I might be a fit for a position at his company. He said "yes".

The day before our scheduled meeting, I sent him a confirmation email that had an agenda attached. The agenda included all of the questions I planned to ask.

He responded with:

J: "Excellent! Great questions! Got me thinking…. Let’s plan to record our session. Maybe we can use it as webinar / interview for marking purposes."

I liked that he had found a way to make it even more of a win-win since I was taking his time without giving much in return. I didn't like that he said "let's" while excluding my thoughts or feelings from the decision. It felt like the "first and final offer" negotiation technique:

Nalebuff: "There are some negotiators that take the approach of offering what they believe to be a generous and fair proposal. After making that proposal as their first offer, they then refuse to budge. This strategy is an ultimatum and it ignores the other side’s expectations for the negotiation since you’re making decisions for them and aren’t allowing them to be more involved in the process. This approach also 'lights a fire' which could sour the negotiation and possibly the business relationship you have with the other side. This ultimatum can be dealt with using 'The Hypothetical Offer Tactic'."

In other words, if he would've added a simple, "Is that OK with you?" at the end, I would've been fine with it. But, because he was acting like he was already my boss, I said:

Ali: "Sounds like a great idea, J. Our meeting tomorrow is more on the personal side since I'm researching the next step of my career. So, if our meeting tomorrow goes well, I'd be more than happy to schedule another one with you where we can do a full interview. And, I'll even expand the questions so it'll be more beneficial to your audience if you decide to use it as marketing material. Does that work for you?"

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Great post, Ali!

Absolutely, "power protecting" is a concept of power dynamics and, like most other concepts, it's situational.

There are times when it's the best approach / strategy, there are times when it's by far the best approach, and there are times when something else is more appropriate.

It's still a very important concept though, and it should probably be higher in PU as well, since a few people who start on this website have a mindset that "the higher the dominance/ the better, always".

Great example with your interviewer as well.
There is a similar concept in the "manipulative negotiation techniques" lesson, under the title "assume the negotiation's ended".
In sales it's often called "assume the close", and should probably rename it like that to avoid confusions.

Ali Scarlett and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettMatthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Coming back to this.

I think the concept of "power over-protecting" is valid and describes real power-dynamics.

I'm not sure whether it deserves its own name/definition because it's overlapping and potentially redundant with "submissive" as in "unassertive".

So power-protecting ends up being a "lack of assertiveness".

So, yes, you can be "power OVER protecting", but then it becomes a question of "unassertive".

Matthew Whitewood and Stef have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on July 5, 2021, 9:10 am

Coming back to this.

I think the concept of "power over-protecting" is valid and describes real power-dynamics.

I'm not sure whether it deserves its own name/definition because it's overlapping and potentially redundant with "submissive" as in "unassertive".

So power-protecting ends up being a "lack of assertiveness".

So, yes, you can be "power OVER protecting", but then it becomes a question of "unassertive".

I think that's why it would be great to add.

I don't view power-protecting as something you "be", I see it as something you do. A tool to promote more collaboration and distance oneself from the notion of "more power is always better".

Similar to how we have techniques for delivering an assertive "no" that are a question of being assertive/unassertive, it could also be helpful to have definitions for protecting the power of others that are more than a question of assertiveness, but also of enlightened collaboration.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Well, you convinced me Ali.

Even if there is overlap with different constructs, I think it can make sense to have it as a separate name and expression.

For example, one might prefer a power-protecting approach, but if he overdoes it, then we can say:

"you are power OVER protecting, and that makes you come across not as considerate, which would be good, but as submissive and indecisive, which is not good".

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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