Thursday, March 30, 2006

Power Struggle

I had a Road To Damocles moment today concerning the power dynamic between myself and a colleague. Let's call him Kate.

Kate has a habit of making outrageous and unrealistic demands. I think the expectation (conscious or subconscious - we may never know) is that if he drops a few of the most egregiously preposterous ones, it looks like he's being reasonable, so he ends up getting more of what he wants, even though in reality he is still chancing his arm and trying to get a whole lot more than he should. Like Israel.

What I hadn't realised is that my automatic response to this is to say "no", and then to become very suspicious of every request he makes.

It dawned on me that if I were to acquiesce to Kate's ploy, he would win, and would gain power. However, my automatic response seems to undermine his ploy, and I force him to fight tooth and nail for every concession. In effect, I end up winning and gaining power.

It's all a bit Machiavellian, I suppose, but I'm sure that would come as no surprise to my lovely husband, who thinks I'm a bit of a control-freak anyway. Naturally, I think he's one, too, and that's why it bothers him. Ah well. Perhaps neither of us would have chosen to fall in love with another top, but them's the breaks, innit?


I found out the day after writing this, using that old but effective technique called "asking", that Kate is aware that he does this. He says he used to do it consciously, but over the years it has become second nature.