Being powerful enables you to get things done. It encourages people to do what you want them to do, often without you even asking. Generally, people like to please powerful people because of what they may gain, or because they don’t want to lose something.
Here are seven ways that you can become more powerful:
- Build Greater Networks. The more people you know, the more potential resources you have to call on. These can provide you with useful knowledge, resources or friendly help and support. This needs to be a two-way process, so make sure to make yourself available to help people in your network too. Don’t just focus on those nearest to you; get to know people in other parts of your organisation, and those outside of it in related work. Make sure and delicately let others know you have this network (read Five Steps to a Healthier Network and Networking: Missing a Trick? for more ideas).
- Acquire Scarce Capabilities. Think about the work that you do and the organisation where you are right now. What does everyone seem to be wanting by way of capability? Perhaps this is financial acumen, process design. Which capabilities are in short supply? Take this into the future and try to predict how the future will change. Try to find ways to build your own capability in things that people want and then let people know you’ve got it (look at The Components of Power).
- Focus Your Specialism. Having a clear notion of what makes you special, and being able to articulate it with clarity will help to make you more powerful. With this focus you can then look for opportunities to build greater knowledge and expertise in your area. Irrespective of what you need right now, look to develop further by finding out what the latest theories are. Build your own tool-kit of approaches and techniques which can make you stand out from the crowd.
- Actively Manage Your Brand. Everyone will have built their own impression of what you represent. Some may think you’re a great networker; others could take the view that you’re a hard worker. What would you like them all to think about you? What would your ideal personal brand be like? Once you’ve worked this out, become active in promoting and managing your brand. Corporations spend millions doing this, so why not invest a little time yourself in building a powerful brand consistently? Take a look at Focus Your Personal Brand .
- Make Use of Your Physical Characteristics. We are all of different shapes and sizes, and this can have a powerful effect on others. Depending on your goals, work and personal integrity, think through how you can make best use of what you were given. A naturally serious face can be used to effect as much as a heart-warming smile. Height, weight and good looks are proven to have an influential effect on others. Do a personal audit and make sure you are making the most of yourself at work (see Type of Power No.9: Physical Power).
- Focus on Social Dimension. Very few people work in total isolation. The workplace is a social organisation and people will be naturally more inclined to help or cooperate with someone they like. Influence happens at a psychological level, so tune in to the social fabric of your workplace, mind your manners and create friends everywhere (Using Social Capital to Build Political Muscle might help here too).
- Study Other Powerful People. You can simplify the building of power by working out what other successful people do around your organisation. Studying what gives them power can provide vital clues and short cuts which you could emulate. There are no golden rules to building power, but many have trodden this path before, so let them become your teachers. You don’t have to do what they do, but your learning can be integrated into the way you go about becoming more powerful (see How to Learn about Influence).
And remember, power is what makes organisations function. It underlies the informal decision making processes, it affects who gets hired, fired and promoted. Resources are often allocated to the most powerful people and by becoming more powerful yourself — you increase your chances of greater success substantially.
If you wish to succeed in your career, you have to make a serious study of The Principles of Power which govern the way things really work in your organisation.
Colin Gautrey is an author, coach, and trainer who specialises in the practical use of power and influence in large organisations. He has 25 years’ experience helping middle/senior professionals to survive, thrive and enjoy their work.
If you are ready to develop your influencing capability, become a member of Breakthrough Influence. If you are serious about becoming highly influential, fast, engage with Colin and he will help you get there in the most effective way possible.
Other articles by Colin:
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