The Tower of Power

I’m reading a good book called Powerful Conversations by Phil Harkins.  He explains that when effective leaders talk, they seek to accomplish three goals: advance the company’s agenda, achieve shared learning and strengthen their relationships.  He provides a nifty four step framework called The Tower of Power that is worth understanding.

Step 1.  Make an emotional connection with the other person so that matters can be discussed openly.  Find out what the person wants, while also introducing your own wants and needs.  This sets the agenda for the conversation.  In the past, I’ve often “pushed” instructions onto my team – I thought that’s how it was done.  But it turns out this doesn’t build meaningful long-term connections.  It doesn’t build trust.  Great leaders “pull” people in versus forcing them to comply with orders.

Step 2.  Great leaders probe and ask questions so that their understanding is based on real facts and issues.  Not assumptions.  Simon Sinek, an inspirational speaker, says that leaders should be the last to speak.  This is a lot harder than it sounds.

Step 3.  Rather than jumping straight into an action plan, great leaders explore possibilities from many angles with their teams.  This is how great leaders build great teams.  The open exchange of ideas leads to new insights, creates a shared understanding and builds stronger relationships.

Step 4.  A confirmed action plan with clear commitments from all parties.  Great leaders make requests regarding actions so that everyone is clear in terms of exactly what needs to be done and who needs to get it done.

It turns out many large companies have The Tower of Power hanging in their conference rooms.  It’s not a secret tool to be hoarded by leaders.  It should be out in the open, shared and implemented by all.

This will definitely make its way onto the walls of The Mozaic meeting rooms.

2 thoughts on “The Tower of Power”

  1. Hi Moe,
    Read the article with interest as I do a lot of leadership programs round the world. I must admit I did not read this particular book but my comments are based on the summary. Though a key issue of leadership is addressed it is not encompassing. I found Kouzes & Posner’s “Leadership Challenge” very comprehensive. The book talks about the five leadership practices of extraordinary leaders. It’s practical and has a good balance between task and relationship.

  2. This particular article was more about structuring conversations. How leaders use frameworks to ensure every conversation advances the company agenda, achieves shared learning and builds relationships. It’s the concept of pull vs push. How leaders pull people in vs bark demands. It’s just one of the many characteristics of a great leader – plenty more to cover over time! Look forward to reading the book you recommend!!!

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