Mention this five-letter word — power — and there is often a deep emotional reaction. If so, it is usually negative. In the absence of a strong reaction, most people are neutral or simply curious — rarely are they enthusiastic. The reaction depends on the individual’s experience and, with negative reactions, their battle scars. Those who have been on the unfortunate end of abusive power tend to shun the very idea of acquiring power. Which is a shame.
Those who have seen all the good that can arise because of power are naturally curious and open to explore some more. They will stop short of the vigorous pursuit of power because that is probably not something they want to be caught doing — a little socially unacceptable perhaps?
Power is the capability to get people to act, think or feel differently.
This capability is a combination of assets (such as status, qualifications, intellect etc.) and skills (like persuasion, communication, problem-solving etc.). Defined thus, it is neutral until someone adds their goal, intent and ethics into the equation. If you want to make people feel good, valued and motivated, you will need power to be able to do this; otherwise, they will feel whatever it was they were going to feel before you came along — or more likely, will be influenced by some other powerful person. Of course, power can be exercised with negative impact. But, just because someone else does that doesn’t mean you have to join them, does it?
So, if you want people to feel better, work harder and achieve more than they currently do, you will need more power or, at the very least, be even better at exercising the power you already have. Similarly, if you want to do more, achieve more, and feel better yourself, you will need more power too. Unless you have everything you want, and everyone you know has all you want them to have, developing more power would be useful.
Assuming you want more power, what next? Build a strategy and a plan to acquire more power over a period of time. It doesn’t mean you have to achieve high office, or accumulate large sums of money — although these things do help quite a bit! Instead, you can focus on building networks, acquiring valuable knowledge and more effective skills. Establishing a reputation for getting results, being challenging and/or highly charismatic can also create more power. Here is a little process to get you moving…
- What power have you got? Learn more about the topic, talk to friends and, perhaps, try the Personal Power Profile to find your starting point. Another way of looking at this is — why do people do what you want them to do, perhaps without you even asking?
- Determine what power you need to get the results you want to get. Power works on supply and demand, pleasure and pain. Working out what moves the people you want to move will help you to set your power development goals.
- Build a plan to grow your power. Lots of posts and articles on our website will help stimulate your thinking here.
- Start executing your plan. Don’t hang about, no time to lose — get on with it!
One final point before you finalise your plan. I’ve noticed that people in junior to middle levels focus on the acquisition of skills to become powerful, while those at more senior levels have worked out the greater efficiency they can get from growing their assets to create power. Therefore, once you have honed your skills to a good level, focus more on assets to accelerate your success.
Colin Gautrey is becoming the most sought-after expert in power and influence by ambitious and talented professionals who are serious about accelerating their careers and their results. But, Colin is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
This resource is one of over 500 articles, and 50 hours of video content he has packed into his Breakthrough Influence Series of online courses.