Guest Post by Rick Miller
People are fascinated by, and have many questions about, power. Who has it? How much of it do they have? How did they get it? How can I get it?
But maybe the biggest question is, what is power?
The Power Inside Each of Us
The answer to that last question depends on who you ask, and the answer generally falls into one of two distinct categories. Some assume power comes from “outside-in.” Those with this view often define power in terms of a title or position that is granted to an individual by someone else. Along with that status comes authority or control. In this case, the power of influence and the ability to have an impact come from a belief in the form of supremacy over others.
Others maintain that real power comes from “inside-out.” These people hold that power is not bequeathed by another but rather is the ability of each individual to cultivate by themselves. This group defines power very differently. You might start to notice these divergent sources of power in your own life.
I’ve experienced both types of power in my career. I’ve held titles including CEO, COO, and President in many companies and led organizations as large as 10,000. In service to you, I offer answers to the following questions:
What is Power?
I believe that real power comes from the inside-out and is comprised of five elements that can be found in each of us. Here are my definitions:
- Clarity – the quality of being certain or definite in a process or course of direction.
- Influence – the capacity to have an effect on the development or behavior of someone or something.
- Energy – the drive and vitality to live and engage fully.
- Confidence – the feeling of self-assurance that comes from an understanding of one’s own priorities, abilities, and qualities.
- Impact – the strong and/or immediate sway on someone or something.
I believe strongly in equality and that these opportunities can be available to everyone. I also believe we are all connected and that our power affects those around us.
Research supports my view that once anyone in a group chooses to become more powerful everyone around that person becomes more powerful.
Specifically, research has found that positive emotions spread from person to person in a work environment. An individual’s or group’s emotion plays a strong role in the behavior of an organization. Studies show that positive mood or emotion enhances creative problem solving, cooperation, decision quality, overall performance, the search for creative solutions, and confidence in being able to achieve positive outcomes. One study by Yale researcher Sigal Barsade, PhD, found that a spread of positive emotion is associated with improved cooperation, decreased conflict, and increased task performance in the workplace.
How Do I Get More Power?
There are five key enablers that can increase your power when even small shifts are made:
- Discipline is an orderly pattern of behavior that increases both clarity as well as the likelihood of a desired outcome.
- Support is the act or process of promoting the interests or causes of another that increases influence.
- Insight is the power or act of seeing intuitively that comes with self-understanding and increases energy.
- Values are the foundation of relationships and of confidence.
- Creativity is the ability to bring into existence. Alignment of creative choices amplifies power and increases impact.
Not only can you get more power, but you can also measure it, too.
You can take a free short survey to get a baseline of how your current choices create your power and then assess what you might want to change to increase your power and the power of those around you.
Rick Miller is an unconventional turnaround specialist, a servant leader, and a go-to Chief. He is also an experienced and trusted confidant, an author (Be Chief: It’s a Choice, Not a Title, September 4, Motivational Press), a sought-after speaker, and an expert at driving sustainable growth. For over 30 years, Rick served as a successful business executive in roles including President and/or CEO in a Fortune 10, a Fortune 30, a startup, and a nonprofit. Rick earned a bachelor’s degree from Bentley University and an MBA from Columbia. He currently lives in Morristown, NJ.
Follow Rick on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Photo by Jordan Donaldson | @jordi.d on Unsplash