boss power vs authority

part 4: Communication

Communication power is the ability to communicate in such a way that people:

  1. Listen,
  2. Understand and,
  3. Act

But people are different and you need to adapt your communication to different personality types. That's why personality models are important to communication. For your communication to work you need to get the medium and the message right for the person you’re trying to reach. Use the wrong medium and people won’t even hear your message. Find out how to make sure your communication leads to action here.


This Module is Part of Boss Camp

Boss Camp will show you how to improve employee performance by showing you what they never taught you in school.The program includes topics such as:

  • How to motivate employees
  • What are bad employee motivators
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description
  • How leaders get power
  • Management techniques that don't take time

Get the Full Video Transcript Here...


BOSS POWER vs Authority. Part 4 Communication Power

This is part of WWW.BOSS.CAMP where great bosses find out how to get stuff done.

Why your employees don’t respect your authority - Where true boss power comes from

This is the fourth part in the series on where true Boss Power comes from. If you think about it - the role of a boss is to get stuff done by motivating your staff. Unfortunately your role power isn’t a good motivator because it doesn’t inspire people to produce great work. This is why bosses need to increase their own Personal Power and one source of personal power is communication power.

Now I don't think I’m dumb and I’ve had a pretty good education so I used to think that I was a good communicator. But what I’ve learnt is that there are a lot of smart, skilled bosses that are frustrated, because, they aren’t getting what they want. And this is due to nothing else but a breakdown in communication. Persuasive, motivational communication is not just a vital boss skill it’s also important for getting what you want in life. In this section I cover the three essential elements for effective communications

3. Communication power

Communication power is the third and last type of personal power. I define communication power as the ability to communicate in a way that people:

  1. Listen

  2. Understand and

  3. Act

You can think about it as being persuasive.

This is similar to relationship power. The difference is that you don’t have to have a good relationship with someone to have communication power. And it’s possible to have a good relationship with someone but be weak at communicating with them. Having great relationships with your staff is no guarantee that they will do what you ask.

1. Communicating so that people listen

You know how sometimes you’re trying to get your message across and the other person isn’t even listening. They are interrupting you, providing excuses or plain just not paying attention. It’s frustrating isn’t it? Do you think your employees are going to do what you want if they aren't even listening? This is why the first barrier to communication is making your message heard.

Get attention without being the angry shouty boss

To get people to listen you can use devices with names like “pattern interrupts” to get their attention. Or “softening statements” to switch them into listening mode. Some bosses resort to aggression like shouting. Now no-one likes an angry, shouty boss but this is a sign of someone that’s frustrated that they aren’t being heard. And frankly bosses that shout just lack the communication skills to get their message across another way. The problem with shouting is that it doesn’t work. When you shout, people don’t listen to your message because their attention is on your behavior, not your words. Shouting triggers a deeply programmed biological reaction to fight or flight. Do you think shouting will inspire great work or dysfunction? True power speaks softly and people listen.

2. Communicating so people understand

The next part of communication is communicating so that people understand.

You know how you get that feeling with your staff - that why the insert expletive did you do that, feeling? Their behavior is weird to to you and what makes perfect sense to you, the other person just can’t seem to understand. This is a sign of a personality mismatch because different personalities see the world differently. This works both ways so if you think your employees behavior seems mysterious to you, you can bet they don’t understand you back!

People have different ways of interpreting the world. Words mean, different things, to different people. This is why you need to change your message or else the recipient won’t understand you. For example I’m a logical/analytical type so if I don’t understand why your message is correct, I’m going to ignore it. With other people you can prove that you’re factually right and they will still ignore you.

You know how you can get into those seemingly endless arguments over who’s wrong or right. This is another sign of dysfunctional communications. The secret here isn’t to try to “win” the argument because you’re fighting the wrong battle. Because if you do eventually win you won’t have inspired your employee. What you have is an employee who is resentful at losing and is wasting their energy plotting their counter argument. You know it's true because admit it, that's what we do ourselves when we lose. We hate losing don't we? The Secret Ninja Manager Skill is to avoid the argument all together and that’s what I show you in Inspiring Performance Communication

Communication - it’s not them, it’s you

When someone doesn’t understand you, it’s tempting to blame them for being stupid. And if you’re smart, you’re going to be even more frustrated because it’s going to seem that you’re surrounded by dumb people. Now you can be right but the problem is if you don’t communicate in a way that other people understand then you’re not going to get what you want. So to get what you want, tailor your message for the recipient. It’s like going to France and shouting at everyone in English - the locals don’t like it do they!

3. Communicating so that people act

The next part of communication power is that you need to communicate in such a way that people act.

You know how sometimes it seems like it takes forever to get someone to understand you. Eventually you manage to drum your message into their thick head. You check to make sure they have understood you and then you’re flabbergasted when they do nothing. And it is tempting to blame them for not just being stupid but also for being uncaring. This is that mysterious quality of ownership that bosses want. This makes managing hard. The problem is that people can listen to you and understand what you’re saying but still not find your message motivational. Then you may as well not bother opening your mouth in the first place. Not everyone will share your passion for your subject. And breaking inertia requires strong motivation. The communication secret is that your employees do care deeply about certain things. So if they don’t seem to care then it is you the boss who hasn’t got your message across. It sounds harsh but the reality is that no-one else but you can or will change it. Great managers know how to help their employees find their enthusiasm because that makes managing easy. Again personality models play a big role in motivation because different things motivate different people.

How great leaders use communication

If you think about some great leaders you can see that their own personal power comes from their ability to communicate. A great example is Barack O’Bama. Love or hate his politics he is an amazing communicator. When he speaks you almost can’t help but listen to what he’s saying. He speaks clearly and you understand him. O’Bama’s communication power even extends to the medium that he used in his campaign. By using social media, he used the right communication tools to reach his base. Winston Churchill is another great leader who was a master wordsmith and orator.

Boss power and communication

As a boss, powerful communication is how you get your employees to do what you want. If you find that people don’t seem to listen, often misunderstand you or don’t do what you ask then it’s a sign to work on your communication. Some managers complain that they don’t have enough role power. But think of this: Barack O’Bama didn’t become powerful when he got the presidency. O’Bama was already powerful because of his great communication skills. And it was this power that enabled him to get the presidency. Adapting your communication isn’t just a good management trick, it’s useful with your friends, family, partners. I see so many arguments and relationship breakdowns not because of any other problem other than a failure to communicate by adapting your message

As you can imagine, communication underlines all management techniques. But particularly relevant skills are Inspiring Performance Communication, Active Listening Skills and Using the DISC behaviour model to adapt your communication. I’ve covered a lot of theory here about what it is that you need to do to communicate powerfully. The techniques cover the practical actions of how to communicate powerfully. Now you’re probably thinking the same thing as me: why do I have to be the one to change. After all I’m right so they should listen to me. The reality is you can be right but still get ignored. So you could try getting your point across by shouting or getting emotional but I don’t want to be one of those people. Truly powerful people don’t have to shout to be heard. But your voice is small in a world full of constant distraction. If you want to be heard, it’s you that needs to work out how. And that skill is your secret ninja manager skill that you can use to get what you want

Communication is good for employee happiness

And employees like good communication too. In brief The science says employees are motivated by acknowledgement and understanding the value of their work. But employees don’t like traditional performance communication because traditional feedback is stressful


Communication power is a form of personal power that is stronger than formal authority. Role power comes from the organization chart and it’s difficult for you to increase your own role power. When you use role power you get begrudging compliance and unhappy employees. Personal power comes from within and you can increase your own personal power by communicating better. Great bosses know that their employees don’t like traditional feedback. Great bosses know how to change employees behaviors and improve employee performance using Inspiring Performance Communication. Great bosses know how to encourage their employees to solve their own problems, by using Active Listening Skills. And great bosses know how to adapt their communication to the different DISC personality styles of their employees. Because what works for one employee doesn’t work for others.


Thanks for listening. This is part of WWW.BOSS.CAMP where you can find out how get your staff to produce great work without being the angry, shouty boss that no-one likes.