Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins on Influence vs. Power

How the difference matters in organizational life and leadership:

Early on, I learned that I’m better with influence than power.  And, in fact, I’m not power-hungry.  My sense is that to be a good operator, you need to be power-hungry.  You need to care more about power than prestige, and probably more about power than money, and more about power than intellectual stimulation.  And people who are good operators tend to want power so they can get stuff done.  They want to wield it.  And there’s a cost to having power, which is that the people you have sway over actually own you, especially if you’re in a business where there are more jobs than there are good people.I like having influence.  I like being with interesting people and helping them become better and being part of the flow of ideas.  And that’s a little bit uncomfortable, as a boss.  It doesn’t make sense to people that the boss, who is kind of a figurehead and maybe a confidence-giving parent figure, just wants to be an experienced helper. As a person of authority, I’m kind of teacher-consultant more than wielder of power.

via Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins, on Influence vs. Power –


One thought on “Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins on Influence vs. Power”

  1. It rings true to me the idea of working with those who are hard working. It is difficult to work with those who have little to no desire to accomplish anything. I found what he said about pushing yourself and realizing that you cannot win at everything. I think there is a great strength in being humble enough to recognize your weaknesses.If I am willing to recognize them and to work push myself to improve them then I can become better. I never allow myself to feel that I have reached a point where I do not need to continue to improve or learn no matter how much a strength that particular thing becomes. I feel once I become comfortable I begin to slide backwards and become weaker on that particular thing. I also love how he said that he wants to stimulate others rather than have power over them. This reminds me of a short film about a circus that unlike other circuses focused on the peoples strengths not their limitations. In fact in the movie the conductor tells a man with no limbs that he is lucky as those who have the hardest challenges have the greatest ability to reach high potential.

    To me that is the difference between stimulating others and having power over others. Those who do not actually believe in themselves try to have power over others as the worry that those around them will become better then them and leave them behind. Those who have confidence in who they are desire others to have the same good feelings in their lives.

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