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September 21, 2022

Your success in an organization depends on your ability to execute with and through others. But when you’re starting a new job, it can be hard to find out who the true power players are and how to get close to them.Research shows that during times of transition like moving to a new role or company, it’s vital to understand the hidden networks that truly get the work done — regardless of hierarchy.Follow these strategies to recognize the lay of the land:1️⃣ Understand the different kinds of power. Observe who has influence and who doesn’t. Five bases of power to consider: coercive (relying on force): reward (relying on incentives): legitimate (relying on hierarchy): referent (relying on affiliation): and expert (relying on knowledge authority).2️⃣ Identify which people others seek out for authority. Once you understand the many ways power is attained and employed, you can start making a list of people who have been successful in using it. Pay attention to who exercises different modes of power, colleagues who everyone seems to know, and people who always get approval to do new projects or have resources to hire more people.3️⃣ Look beyond the obvious pockets of power. It’s natural to assume that those who have “chief” or “senior” in their titles are the ones that dominate the power landscape. But this isn’t always the case.4️⃣ Let relationships with powerful colleagues multiply through curiosity and generosity. Employ a humble desire to learn from them, mixed with an energetic desire to offer something of value with no selfish agenda.Adapted from "How to Figure Out the Power Dynamics in a New Job," by Nihar Chhaya. Art credit: Mark Weiss/Getty Images.
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