power to chooseGot power? Want power? Want to be powerful?

I’m sure hoping the answer was “yes” to all three questions!

Despite some commonly held notions, everyone can have power—lots of it—without being a high-ranking pooh-bah!

Power typically comes in two forms, personal and positional. Each one of us has personal power—”you power.” Most of us have some measure of positional power—”job power”—based on what we do.

Combining the best of “job power” and “you power” is the secret sauce for individual success.

Job power is what we do, and personal power is how we do it.

How each one of us chooses to use our power is up to us:  we can use it for personal gain or for the greater good.

Making good use of our power


Want to use your job and personal power to make a positive difference?

If so, here’s three things for you to do—and be at the top of your power game while helping others do the same. Tip #1:  be tough and empathetic

If we manage others, we want to hold them accountable for doing their job, and we want to be considerate as we do so.

“The manager-employee dyad is the new building block of learning and development in firms,” writes Monique Valcour, professor of management at EDHEC Business School in France.

Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones define tough empathy as “giving people not necessarily what they want, but what they need to achieve their best.”

Tough empathy is the ultimate leadership balance beam act between task completion and relationship. It means being both tough and tender, having high standards and high touch.

Tip #2:  be assertive and tactful

Not everyone is comfortable talking about their ideas or accomplishments, yet failing to do so hurts our chances of being promoted and having access to our boss’s boss. We trust that our good work will speak loudly on our behalf but often that’s not the case.

“To be effectively heard, you need to recognize the context, plan your approach, and adjust your style to communicate ideas that, with any luck, will connect with the needs of the business.  If you don’t have an informed perspective, then you risk being labeled a Doer, someone [who] can be told what to do via email.” ~Nilo Merchant, lecturer and author

Tip #3:  be powerful and well-liked

We have to make it a point to not sacrifice our authority because we want people to like us.Our ideal aim is having people respect us for what we do and know, in that order.

Recent research shows that “the best way to gain influence is to combine warmth and strength. The traits can actually be mutually reinforcing: Feeling a sense of personal strength helps us to be more open, less threatened, and less threatening in stressful situations. When we feel confident and calm, we project authenticity and warmth.”

Likeability doesn’t have to be sacrificed for success. Never confuse being kind with being weak! Leaders can be both empathetic and compassionate—being one doesn’t rule out being the other.

The measure of a man is what he does with power. ~Plato

Your take


How have you chosen to use your job and you power?

Image credit before quote added:  Gratisography