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Power Dynamics of Using "It Will Help Us"

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 23, 2021, 5:45 pm
Quote from Matthew Whitewood on February 23, 2021, 5:29 pm

You: (smile slightly) OK, cool, you can just tell me when you heard something.
It would help us serve the patients faster.

Would this work?

It could yes, but it's a politcal risk depending on the receiver.

The risk is that such a sentence is not very power-protective.

So a very low-ego, low-power, and/or very antifragile and bottom-line oriented person might think "that's true, let's do that from now on" or "OK, I get it he prefers more direct, I'll do that".

But other people, and probably the majority of people, might think "oh what, is he calling the shots now? Telling me how to care for the patients and what's more effective for me as a boss?".

Just a little tweak can make it more protective though and more politically smart though:

It can help us go faster

That softens the power blow.
And without getting into the "serving the patient", it seems less of a power move as it's more about you two, than "how to run the hospital".

I think that I may be misunderstanding the power dynamics of the statement

It will help us to ...

In Terms of Social Credit

I thought that by saying

It will help us to serve the patients faster.

you are giving the person more social credit towards contributing to the wider work environment.

In Terms of Social Power

Now that Lucio has pointed it out, I missed out on the social power element.
By stating how doing something benefits the wider environment, one is indirectly saying that you know how to best go about providing value to the wider environment and are the decision-maker.

Thoughts on Which is Which

I think the difference is

  • when you make a request for a change in behaviour VS
  • when you are giving credit to the team

I will give examples below.

Examples to Analyse

Requesting change in behaviour

Person: Could you do this? It will help us get through the project faster.


Giving Credit to the Person

Person: This is a solid result. It will help us get through the project faster.

Difference Between the 2 Cases

If it comes before, you will come across as higher power and less power-protecting.
You seem like you are making decisions for the person or the team.

If it comes after, you are giving credit to how the person has helped the team and wider environment.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Yeah, that sounds like a good distinction.

Eventually, once one acquires the feel for power dynamics, the difference will feel natural.

And these analyses help to get there.

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