Our world is still often organized in a pyramid shape although we should be way beyond that by now. The climb to the top is often fierce and competitive although sometimes surprisingly friendly. I read a blog by Seth Godin earlier this year that explains a phenomenon called ‘coercion‘. What does that mean? “The practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats”. It has happened to me and probably you too.
One time, I was invited to a casual meeting where the person gave me a surprising choice: to either put that person’s name on my work or else they would directly compete. I choose the latter. As Seth writes in his blog “Coercion can make change happen (in the short run). Coercion can look like leadership. But it doesn’t scale and it doesn’t last, because ultimately, it burns down the very institution it sought to change by mob force. Coercion gets its start because well-meaning people believe that the short-run cost of the mob mentality is worth it. It almost never is. Coercion uses force and blames the victim. And coercion is impossible to live with”.
Coercion is a shortcut for doing the actual work required to reach an intended goal. The problem with coercive people is they lack the experience and knowledge required to do a good job. Spend the extra time to learn by experience and leadership may follow (unless the audience intervenes).