Greg Williams

By Greg Williams

“How To Maintain Power In The Face Of Threats” – Negotiation Insight

“How To Maintain Power In The Face Of Threats” – Negotiation Insight 150 150 Greg Williams, MN, CSP

“Threats can be disruptive. But unchecked threats that challenge power usually leads to destruction. -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)


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“How To Maintain Power In The Face Of Threats”


The leaders that preceded him always supported their allies. And his allies thought he’d continue that support. Then, it occurred – the opportunity to come to their aid. But he was a different type of leader. He cared more about his well-being than that of his allies. So, he abandoned them. He did that to maintain power while a secret source threatened him.

Everyone has a degree of authority. And that authority is a source of power. So, if you want to maintain yours, consider the following.

Verbal Attacks

Sometimes, non-physical attacks work – especially in the face of threats. Thus, attacks don’t have to be physical. They can be verbal, serving as a warning of the foreboding to come unless current threatening actions cease. And, over a long period, they can shape future activities, anticipation, and mindset of those whom you convey your sentiments. So, when you consider how you’ll extend and maintain power, think about how you might use even the threat of an attack, physical or non-physical, to bolster your position.

Moving Goalposts

When confronting threats, another strategy to consider is moving the goalposts. That means, when those you’re facing get closer to a goal, move it. Do that by changing the parameters that were previously set.

You can use this tactic against those that form less of a threat but with whom you wished to maintain control. You’d implement this strategy to keep the object of your actions aligned with you, but have them guessing at what you might require next. If overused, that tactic can also introduce and ignite anger. So, be careful of how and when you utilize it.

You can also implement this strategy by assembling multiple goals and allowing your associates to choose the ones to address. Later, for reasons you create, you can state that they have to alter their course and discuss new goals. You’d use this approach to buy time or to frustrate the progress they were making that was out of alignment with your goals. Either way, you’ll maintain power, while others are chasing the altering goals that you created.

Using Surrogates

Power is real to the degree it’s perceived, and how it’s adhered to by others. Thus, if someone recognizes you as being in control, in their eyes, you’re powerful. Therefore, another way to project power is to disallow others from engaging you. You’d forbid them access to you, be it in person or via any form of communication. Instead, you should have such individuals communicate through your surrogates. You want to maintain distance between you and them. That buffer allows you to remain somewhat aloof while giving you time to consider responses to potentially threatening situations. Then, when you enter into communications with them, you’ll have the opportunity to control the situation better. Your presence will suggest that something bigger is occurring.

Your Will

When considering threats to power, some people become tyrannical to protect it. They will lie, cheat, and steal to maintain control. Others will acquiesce to threats. Thus, not only should you be aware of the personality type that you’re dealing with, having that insight will help you shape your response to the threats of others.

  • Tyrants – This individual type may have a relationship with power, new or long-established, that allows him to feel special. He rides on the clouds of accolades. And his ego is pacified while being affirmed that he exalts over his followers. It can be challenging to deal with this personality type. When confronting someone possessing this characteristic, no his sources of power, and know yours. You may have to call on your power sources to prepare it to battle on your behalf. You should also be prepared to employ dirty tricks to combat his forces if you deem it necessary.


  • Acquiesce – Dealing with someone that acquiesces can be tricky. The trickiness lies in the speed of his actions. If he nibbles at your power, he may do so to test the possibilities for success. Thus, he will not be as bold nor engage in the tactics a tyrant would use. Nevertheless, depending on the backers of this individual, he may become emboldened to threaten your authority because he’s being egged on by others. Keep this in mind and account for it when dealing with this type of person.


Power is fluid. And it’s ever-changing. Therefore, if you want to maintain control, you must be aware of what might alter its flow. And, you must be prepared to combat those that would take it away. To do anything other will empower others. And for them … everything will be right with the world – but not for you.


Remember, you’re always negotiating!


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