Build your power and influence with these managerial tips from author Robert Greene.
In the end, just about everything we do is motivated by power. Whether we're obtaining it, or responding to someone else's influence, it's a constant factor.
Sometimes getting to the top requires bending the rules of conventional morality. Best-selling author Robert Greene distills thousands of years of historical evidence and research in his book, The 48 Laws Of Power.
Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less.
Some of Greene's top tips may require a healthy dose of executive ego and fly in the face of wisdom that encourages bosses to nurture and value their employees. With Greene's permission, Business Insider has broken out 10 of his best rules for those looking to get to the top.
1. Never outshine the master
"Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite — inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power."
2. Avoid stepping into a great person's shoes
“What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. If you succeed a great person or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them. Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making: Establish your own name and identity by changing course.”
3. Court attention at all cost
"Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colourful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses."
4. Win through your actions, never through argument
"Any momentary triumph you think you have gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory. The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate."
5. Always say less than necessary
"When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinx-like. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish."
6. When asking for help, appeal to people's self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude
"If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasise it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself."
7. Concentrate your forces
“Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another — intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.”
8. Plan all the way to the end
“The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.”
9. Make your accomplishments seem effortless
“Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work — it only raises questions.”
10. Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one
“The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown."