In any organization or situation, personal power is always a factor in the. A healthy organization has many people with large amounts of personal power. When everyone is standing tall in their truth, there isn’t any subterfuge or game-playing. Agreements are made in an up-front manner and business is conducted quickly and effectively.
Many recent studies and books validate this “new” realization. In today’s fast-paced world where decisions are needed quickly, the age of a central power base are long gone. It takes too long to communicate and the information is always shaded by the views/insecurities of those reporting it.
There are two main sources of power:
1. Positional (formal) – your location on the organization chart
2. Personal (informal) – your influence and what you accomplish
As a coach and speaker on personal power, I know of many individuals with far superior personal power than those with the more traditional and limiting positional power. This is true because they are well known, respected, and active within their organization. These individuals have demonstrated their worth, integrity, and knowledge on many occasions. The beauty of personal power is that it’s based on you. It travels with you and is the paramount soft skill.
5 actions to begin increasing your personal power:
- Build and nurture relationships with everyone you encounter. Everyone.
- Actively develop your reputation/brand – be great at what you do and let others know it in a confident yet subtle way.
- Enhance your skill-set in ways that improve your worth and personal reputation. These follow you wherever you go.
- Keep your ear to the ground – know what’s going on and use it to your advantage. Be aware of “the game” without playing it.
- Develop and nurture your confidence through positive self-talk and positive reflection on your accomplishments. Know you have the Right Stuff.
Power is the ability to get what you want done – to influence others and get your projects accomplished. Specific tactics to build your
power include taking on new assignments, aligning yourself with other powerful and respected colleagues and letting your light shine. Another foolproof way to build your personal power is to lift others up and help them succeed and get noticed.
If you’re having difficulty getting your great ideas heard and acted upon, I suggest changing tactics. You aren’t being heard because you’ve trained your colleagues to ignore you because the value you add is minimal. Use these strategies to get your ideas sold and implemented:
- Be bold – cut the idle chatter in meetings. Speak with authority, conviction, and confidence. Offer solutions, volunteer for assignments and deliver on time without excuses. Toastmasters is an excellent organization to help you strengthen your speaking skills.
- Be persistent – Learn from your previous efforts and make course corrections as you move forward. Life is like driving a car – keep your vision on where you want to go and make course corrections along the way. Don’t doubt yourself.
- Be there – Show up in person – let your persona and energy fill the room. While digital methods are definitely more convenient, nothing beats showing up in person and speaking with authority. It’s worth the time and effort.
- Be pleasant – keep your cool and don’t become irate it someone disagrees with you. Listen to their argument and ask yourself how you can use their input to your advantage and improve your idea? Practice influence aikido.