Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Power", by Jeffrey Pfeffer

I am an INFP. If you are familiar with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, you may know that this stands for 'idealist'.

So this book was sort of a cure to me, a great lesson of pragmatism.

Some of the advices Pfeffer gives us might seem somewhat cynical. For example:
  • As long as you keep your bosses happy, performance doesn't matter that much.
  • Established rules play in favor of those who already have the power. If you are in a high position, you should play by the rules and invite others to do so. If you aren't, you best interest might be to break them.
  • Likability is overrated.
  • The secret of leadership is the ability to play a role, to pretend, to be skilled in the theatrical arts.
I am not a person who likes this kind of ideas, but Pfeffer shows with great talent how true they are.A Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford, Pfeffer knows a lot about how people reach power, or lose it. This book is Machiavelli 2.0.

Building on scientific studies and empirical evidence, he shows that we have no choice but recognizing the necessity of organizational politics and tells us how to act strategically to reach a position of power.

This brilliant book is a must-read if your ambition is to become a CEO... or just to keep your job!

From an HR point of view, this book is also very useful, as it helps us identify the personal characteristics that will allow someone to become a real leader: ambition, energy, focus, self-knowledge, confidence, empathy, capacity to tolerate conflict.


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