Power. In these days of self-enlightenment and claiming our power and being empowered, do we collectively know what that means?
Even if we know, do we know how to get it as introvert leaders? Especially, if no one anoints you as the fearless leader or you wake up as royalty?
Must power be handed to us? Where does it come from if you are the one in charge?
By now, you’ve probably noticed that when it comes to power, some people inexplicably have it and others don’t. It’s not always a by-product of being in a leadership role. It can help but it’s not “the” thing that always differentiates those with it and those without.
You can acquire power but you have to understand a few things on your path to getting it.
Let’s look at the definition of power as it relates to people having it:
Definition: the ability to act or produce an effect, authority, control and to assert influence, on others. The opposite of power is weakness or impotence.
We often think of power that people possess as a bad thing but based on the definition, it’s fairly neutral. There are some defining characteristics in how people use or demonstrate the power they have:
Positive power is about confidence, competency, vision and inspiration.
Negative power is about domination, coercion, force and incompetency.
It’s as much an attitude and state of being; i.e.: you don’t always have to be granted “power” in order to have it. A person who has negative power or abuses power assumes those behaviors, they aren’t granted. The same is true for positive power.
There are 4 types of power. 2 are largely out of your control but the other 2 are clearly power you can acquire, should you choose to do so. They are:
- Position power – the most common and easily identifiable form of power. A person is given a position and that gives them authority for specific groups and outcomes. People assuming position power still have to shift their attitude and perspective to understand how the position endows them with power – it’s not automatic.
- EX: CEO, manager, pope, surgeon
- Prominence power – In our celebrity culture, people often emerge that may or may not have no real, notable accomplishments or skills but take advantage of or create a highly visible persona. They are easily recognized by people and take advantage of their prominence to promote their agenda.
- EX: the Kardashians, Anna Nicole Smith, Mark Zuckerburg, Richard Castle*, local personalities, people within your industry
As you can see, the first two are not necessarily something you can control however, the next two are.
- Knowledge or Informational power – people who have deep knowledge or expertise in a subject area often have power within a group. Because of their knowledge, decision and direction is often differed to a person in this situation as others realize their own knowledge or information shortage in comparison. The information can also be insider information within a group.
- EX: Administrative staff, programmer or technically oriented person within a group not technically oriented, someone with long history in a group or has process knowledge
- Charismatic or Personal power – often times referred to as the informal leader or “alpha” dog, people often are drawn to this person by the strength of their personality. This type of person is comfortable leading others, influencing actions and decisions.
- EX: well liked person in the group
Now that you have an understanding of what power is, where it comes from and where you can create your own personal power, why wouldn’t you whip up a batch for yourselves as introvert leaders?
It will help you influence others as introvert leaders, help you get those promotions and raises and support your career goals.
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