Strike Like It’s Hot.

It’s summertime so that can only mean one thing. The long days of having nothing to watch other than golf and baseball. Maybe those sports are your vice but for most of us it’s a hard stretch of the year. Basketball and hockey just ended and football is still a few months away.

It’s not all bad though, NBA free agency is coming and that’s always exciting. I can’t put my finger on it but there’s something fascinating about seeing someone sign a multimillion dollar deal. Maybe, in our wildest fantasy, we’ll sign a contract like that and be set for life.

There’s one commonality with every free agency season and that’s the athlete’s usage of leverage to obtain as much money as possible. A trait that we all could master for future endeavors.

It’s rare when the employed have leverage over the employer. Usually the downtrodden have to play by the boss’ rules or suffer consequences. I guess that’s another reason free agency is so appealing. For once, someone else other than the establishment can throw their weight around however they see fit.

The hardest thing about leverage is creating, or appearing, to have substantial value. Athletes get to dictate these meetings because they’re perceived valuable and owners will jump through a few hoops to please them.

How do non-athletes create value?

There are a few routes.

Relationships. No matter what you do in life relationships are important. They should be valued. They can also but subliminally used as leverage when the time comes. It’s a lot harder to get rid of you if people like you. It should go without saying that you shouldn’t have relationships with people just to use as leverage down the road. I’m just saying it can help in the long run.  

Competition. Nothing catches and employers attention like someone else coming after you. We see it all the time. Employer A sees that Employer B wants one of their employees. That immediately increases your value. If Employer A is really serious about keeping you then you’ll have some leverage at hand.  

Skills. The easiest, and most effective, way to get leverage is to have skills in whatever field you’re in. It can come from being a jack-of-all-trades or a specialist in one area. Having skills means the other forms of getting leverage (competition, relationships) are only enhancers. Having skill will also be your catalyst to gaining leverage. The more you learn and master, the better you’ll be down the line.

There you have it, a few tips on how to obtain and wield power. Be careful, burning bridges aren’t wise. You just never know….

As always, thanks for reading.