How to identify the tower of power employee in your company

 In Business Strategy

While I have seen many times the ‘tower of power’ among employees in companies, the excellent book called Joy Inc by Rich Sheridan is the first time that I had seen it beautifully named as such.

What’s a tower of power?

A ‘tower of power’ is an individual in a company who deliberately withholds information to manipulate their strength and influence. Why? Because they make them irreplaceable and able to manipulate situations and their bosses, being unable to circumnavigate around them. I have witnessed CEO’s terrified of upsetting junior employees because ‘we couldn’t do without them’.

 

What are the signs?

  1. When the staff member goes on holiday, stuff must wait until they get back, as nobody knows how to handle the situation.
  2. There is a bottleneck caused by one individual who is controlling the flow.
  3. Growth in the company is non-existent, and consistently one person is controlling and stopping output.

Here’s how to fix it!

  1. Knowledge must be shared by a minimum of two people. While someone may be better at doing a particular task, it should not preclude them sharing and allowing others to learn, grow and know how to do their job, and as vice versa. Working in pairs is also a great way to achieve this.
  2. I always come back to Jim Collins ‘Good to great’ quote:

“Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with ‘where’ but with ‘who’. They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”

There is a lot of gum bumping going on at the moment about starting with ‘why’, and in practical reality and 40 years of raw business experience, you must start with ‘who’!

If you have a chimpanzee driving the bus, you are going to crash! If you have a hog, hogging and withholding information, then get them off the bus!

If you are held to ransom by one individual in your IT department, for example, and that one individual is bunging up the works, and they stubbornly will not share information and knowledge, get rid of them!

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