Machiavelli was a renaissance writer who tried to understand and analyse the real nature of political power for the first time. His monumental work “Il Prince” ,which was written to counsel the political leaders of its time on the art of power has been discussed,despised and criticised so much but never lost its charm for the power owners from any field, rank ,and any culture and for the ones who want to attain power. In this article , I tried to interprete and summarise his work from the viewpoint of business circles,following the plan he used when writing his book. I believe that Machiavelli has lots to say to us,who many times forget to be in the soil of power plays ,and since, injured. The management in its essential meaning is the power traffic. So without a realistic approach to the art of power,we can not understand and execute the art of management.
Lets face the core of power and listen to Machiavelli. He has direct and inspirational messages to the tough players of the business who are already sick of fiddle – faddles of fancy worded modern management theories.
You are either a favourite of someone from the high ranks in the business or you achieved your position by your thrift,knowledge and energy.
If you are favourite of the some and keep your position by the power of a name of this one,you will be there as long as you have this legitimacy of your benefactor.When your party loses,then you will probably lose ,unless you would have made new alliances before the downfall of your benefactor.
If you owe your position, both to your benefactor and to your own struggle, then duplicate your support both in top management and among your collegues. If you are a new in a position, do quick moves which will show you as a right decision and create a contented group . Otherwise your opponents will rally a negative probaganda against you in such an extent that you can lose all your support in both level.
If you get a position in a company by assignement and transfer from somewher and if you should work with a subordinate waiting your position, then be careful. Try to orientate him to a different position in the company and help or do not trust in him and fire him in a first opportunity,otherwise you will be betrayed soon. Because he can align with your team and provoke them against your authority.
When you get the managerial position in a new company by being transferred from the inside or the outside of the company, analyse your new teams power maps,traditions, their formal or informal influences. If your coming will stop some of their priveleges, they wont support you. First please them in some ways, then watch and analyse the situation. Settle your new plan and if you can not gain their heart, do not let them live in your team
If you gain your position struggling from down to top,then do not stop and keep struggling. It is higly certain that you have made many enemies during your rise. So if you stop and take a defensive state,that will make you a good target. Increase your power through your new position till all your opponents be annihilated and be your allies.
If you get your position by chance or a strong favour of someone, it means that you have not waged a war to be there. But be sure, you will have to do many to stay there. You must create a team from experienced followers gaining their respect by humble manners, you must create a network in a company among other managers,using their influence and experience to increase yours.
If you have gained your position by trick and villainousness, you would be a unwanted man ,persona non grata,and probably you would have a dangerous negative popularity. If so use your bad fame to inspire fear and keep going settle your new order even in the risk of injuring your new team members. Do all the negative things your should do in a stroke, and all your favours do litle by litle so that your subordinates taste it continuantly. You can build your fame by the time as a good manager, letting your beneficiary actions erase your previous disreputation.
If you get your position with the support of your subordinates and it is so clear that you owe something to them for your ascension, then your power will be weak. As long as you work with these supporters, they will make you feel their previous support and they will demand a tolerence in such an extend which the other subordinates do not have. Whatever you give them , those will not be enough to please them. They will force you till you lose your legitimacy and respect in regard of management and other subordinates. Then even if you gain a position with support of some subordinates,the first thing you should do after you get a position is to dismiss them out of your team. Otherwise your power will not last long.
When you get a high position, first fill it so that no one can think that you are not a man of your rank. Fortificate your position learning all your pros and cons,quickly accomplish which your preceded one could not accomplish. At least start a tumultuous campaign so that every one believe that you are about to do great things, at least you are not a wrong one for the position.
There are always the servant managers of the top executives in some managerial positions,who have some deep,secret or beneficiary relations to them. Do not wage war on them never ! But do not trust in them also. Try to use their influence and power for your own sake diplomaticly and give them something in return. Do not rely on their power only. They are ally as long as you keep being strong in your position, do not forget !
If you want to be a strong in your position, do not rely your power on the information,support and action of counsellors,advisers, and outsourced ones. For the main outputs of your department, keep the mechanism of action and execution in your hand.Always have the key of your success in your own hands. Otherwise, your success and issues will be depended on somebodies action and decision. Do not allow them infiltrate to your core management.
Do not rely your business plans on the aid of other department members. You can use them as a support and as enrichment but do not depend on them. They can be useless or absent when you need them fataly. In addition to that, if they see that your success depends on their help,your political advantageon them will be lost.
A manager should know art of how to carry on low intensity conflicts,art of confrontation, art of office politics and company diplomacy,art of power in general. This is a must.If you do not know, you should learn by reading and listening the maestros of this art. It is the unwritten rule of being a manager. All the top executives and managers are the ones who know these arts. If you can not read power through affairs, you can not avoid from its harms and you can not use its advantages. So you will not have it or keep to have it longer.
If you gain a position,then behave in accordance to which is expected from you. You should behave in a way you can gain the respect and admiration of your subordinates and your collegues. But do not misjudge the managerial qualities you should have. This is not a position to make everyone happy and contend. The managerial wisdom lies in governing of other people’s expectations. If you believe in popular manager stories, that will be your ruin.
Use the fame of liberality and generousness in ascending. Then use them moderately to please your subordinates and never be known as a mean. But with your budget, be utmost planning and reserved. Use company’s money better than your own.
It is nice to be loved by your subordinates but it is not enough to manage them. A manager loved but not feared is just a puppet. Try to be loved and feared one at the same time. But if you can not be ,at least be feared, if you want to keep your position.
Keep faith but as long as you win. Demand your adversaries to keep theirs, but as long as it serves to your cause. If you can cooperate and collaborate, do it with sincerity. Know that business is not a war but a value creating process by any means.But if someone tries to wage a war to you secretly ( all the Office wars are secret by the way, because open wars end in the ruin of both sides), then it is war: all the tricks are allowed in war. Observe the balances and alliances. Be a fox to understand the foxes but be a lion to crush them alltogether. Do not forget, the nets of your trap can be being prepared when you are roaring. Always appear to have all the good qualities, but know how to put into action the most treacherous plans,when necessary !
Do not be a person which is despised and hated at the same time. All your enemies can unite against you. If you do not treat your subordinates fairly, if you do not be just and honest,if you do not confer them what they earn by their thrift, if you do not keep your promise towards them,if you are light to believe and to hate. If you can not guard them against external threats ,then you will be despised and hated. This make your legitimacy be questioned, and soon you will lose it.
Do not dismantle the power of your subordinates. Instead, give them power,delegate them, let them show their skills in front of management. Do not forget, you are as strong as your subordinates are. If they see that you do not trust them, they will also lose their trust in you. If you want to be seem invulnerable, encircle yourself with strong and faithful subordinates !
If you want to be respected as manager, then behave as a real manager and do managerial acts. Be clear, have a vision and set your rights and wrongs. Show your black and white . Know how to admire, how to support but how to punish and how to forgive. Show your favour,but show your adverseness and anger on time. Do not forget: princes must be ornamented with princely virtues in order to be treated princely.
If you want to be seen elegant, chose your subordinates elegantly. Do not allow your subordinates to damage your reputation. The qualities of the people around you will be an indicator for your quality. Find them, persuade them to be with you, retain them with right management and admiration. Support them,honour them,respect them and trust them. You can be great in yourself, but with great subordinates you will be greater !
Listen well, but do not listen blubbermouths and flatterers. Take a counsel, but do not listen praises. Thanks them kindly and interrupt them. A real executive does not have time for such flatteres. He knows well that the point is action and result and time is money. Keep your distance and gravity, but listen those who speaks the right and necessary.
Many manager fail and lose their position not by fortune, but because of their blindness,comfort and sloth. They do not think that business life is a dynamic niche,which the positions,balances,conditions always and permanently change and chances,rivals and opportunities,and dangers emerge .Be a man who know how to renew himself and start your career every day again.
A man who gains his position because of the favours of others,because of the chance,fortune and some politics based on conditions, will inevitably lose when the conditions are changed. So do not build your career on unstable,volatile conditions. Build your career on eternal greatness,which is character and integrity,trust in your energy , courage ,industriousness . And by virtue of everlasting wish to learn ,develop yourself till your indiscutable greatness.