You’re Only As Powerful As You Feel
As a leader you get things done with and through others— influencing and impacting others effectively. Your position doesn’t do that; you do. Your personal power does.
But here’s the thing: you’re only as powerful as you feel. We all suffer from feeling powerless, no matter how high our rank. Parents feel powerless in the face of screaming toddlers. Teachers struggle to control unruly students. CEOs fail to get their leadership teams to work together.
No matter what our positional power—status, role, wealth, or even size—it’s our inner sense of personal power that matters most when it comes to using power well.
Power Intelligence means using power, all power—personal, positional, expertise, informal—to lead effectively, influence persuasively, and impact the world around you.
Power doesn’t just change you. It changes the people around you.
Our power impacts the people around us, influencing how free they feel to speak up, to contribute, take risks, even ask questions. And this in turn, has a huge effect on organizational culture and business outcomes, affecting everything from productivity, to decision making, to innovation.
Power creates a vicious cycle – the more power we have, the bigger our impact. But the bigger our impact, the more people alter their behavior towards us, and thus, the harder it is for us to assess our impact, to gauge accurately our influence on others.
Our research shows that problems related to the poor use of power are both costly and common.
We may not recognize them as such, but the following workplace issues all stem from the poor use of power.
- Conflict Avoidance: Leaders who fail to hold others accountable, confront problems, or keep meetings on track.
- Difficulty Influencing without Authority: Leaders who depend only on their positional authority, or a narrow window of expertise, and fail to create legitimate influence across all channels of their organization.
- Bias, discrimination, and a lack of inclusion: Leaders who aren’t aware of their own biases, and don’t systematically root out behavior, practices, and processes that advantage some more than others.
- Disengagement: Micromanagement and other disempowering behaviors lead to resentment, apathy, and disengagement.
- Underperforming leadership teams: competition for resources, protective behavior, silos and self-interest create dysfunction and inefficiencies that cascade through the company
You’re only as powerful as you feel.
While positional power gives you the license to act, it’s your unique personal powers, that you use on a daily basis that make you effective.
Are you familiar with your powers? What unique powers do you possess to impact the world around you?
While power is often described in terms of either/or—you either have it or you don’t—your power is actually a complex system of different abilities, traits, and characteristics related to personality, life experiences, social status, and position.
Each of us has a Powerprint, an intricate and completely individual mix of life experiences, traits, and abilities that enable us to influence others and impact the world around us.