Power Is Not a Bad Word!

Sections of this topic

    career powerThink hard work is all you need for career success?

    Jeffrey Pfeffer, at Stanford University Graduate School of Business disagrees. In his latest book, Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t, he argues that what you need to succeed in the workplace is, above all, power.

    He was asked in an interview with BNET “What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to achieving power?”

    He answered: “I see a lot of people who voluntarily give up the opportunity to have a lot of power by saying things like, ‘I won’t play the game.’ That won’t get you anywhere.”

    Sources of Power

    As a coach of talent, part of my job is to help career starters and emerging leaders see that they have power no matter where they stand on the corporate ladder. It’s a matter of recognizing and capitalizing on it. There are two sources of power.

    1. Formal or Position Power
    This is based on your title – manager, supervisor, senior vice-president, etc. With it comes the ability and responsibility to reward (provide someone with a raise or plum assignment) and punish (discipline someone or limit access to resources). However, there’s another.

    2. Informal or Personal Power
    This is based not on your position, but on you. You have the ability to develop expert power (based on highly valued knowledge and skills) and associate power (based upon who you know and who knows you).

    Which is easier to obtain?
    In most cases its personal power. Here are five ways to increase your informal power and not feel you just playing the game. Take a look at these past posts.

    1. Know What’s Going On: Information is power so be on constant alert.
    2. Have Skills Will Travel: This is what you bring to the employment table.
    3. Develop a Strong Brand: It conveys your distinctiveness as a professional or leader.
    4. Enhance Your Reputation: Toot your horn occasionally and have others do it as well.
    5. Build Good Working Relationships: They are the bread of career life so eat often and hearty.

    Career Success Tip

    True power, to get things done, does not come from a title or position. Rather it comes from the value ( your expert power) you produce for your internal and external customers. Figure out ways to make a positive impact (your associate power) on the key people in your career world. That’s how you build power careers.

    On a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high) how much personal power do you have right now to achieve your career goals? What can you do to get it to a 10?

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?