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Susan M. Heathfield

Position Power Lives

By December 13, 2013

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Even if it's just in the minds of employees... Are you aware of how your organization's hierarchy affects employees? I was reminded recently that position power still plays a huge role in the workplace.

I asked a young colleague to send out a note to company executives with the recommended December holiday schedule. I told her to give them a deadline for responding.

When I received a copy of her email, I was so pleased with her approach and general literacy that I emailed her and said, "Good job on the holiday note to the execs. Your tone and approach were perfect for the occasion."

A short time later, she talked to me about the stress I had created for her by asking her to send a note to the (her words) "biggest, most important people in the company. And, what would they think because I was emailing them and setting deadlines," etc.

She had even called an HR Generalist friend, who was at home on maternity leave, to seek her advice. Wow. This is a generally fearless, millennial employee in her first post college job. She's rocking the company, because she's so good at her job.

But, emailing the "big people" who hold position power within the company's hierarchy was a traumatic event. How out-of-touch am I?

Image Copyright Jacom Stevens

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