Leadership & “Power”

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In my experience, most people who are ambitious to take on leadership roles are attracted to power.  Generally, the definition of power is the ability to do or act. Many people attracted to power realize that they can accomplish more with the help of others. Below, I will work through my own fascination with power:

Generally speaking, I want the highest personal power. I want to live my own life, congruent with my own beliefs rather than acting in ways that are influenced by others’ and not consistent with my beliefs. The growth for me is to allow myself to be influenced at all, which is a conversation for a different day.

I have been told that I have power of presence. Presence means the state of being present. I agree with those sentiments, where my energy is noticeable in a crowd, and I can easily focus on the person in front of me; making the receiver of our conversation feel like they are the only person in the room. They are correct that I am completely focused on them for that moment in time, a quality that many say is difficult.

I have also been told I have a power of poise. People perceive me to be confident and comfortable with myself.  This may be true much of the time, but often when the spotlight is on me I waiver, which illuminates the self-concious pieces of me. The spotlight is not necessarily in a crowd either. This can be a one-on-one conversation where I easily stumble. I’m working on it.

I think that because of my power of presence and poise, people may follow me. They see me as someone who cares about them and is also comfortable with myself, which is something others may strive for. I would never want to use my power in a way that is damaging to others. I want to use myself and my power as a model to help others truly lead, live and learn. Sandberg (2015) writes of three types of power:

1. Comparative Power (high rank)- characterized by isolation, inflated perspectives, blind to experiences of others

2. Emerging Power- characterized as immature power, growing pains

3. Low Rank – characterized as either understanding it is just a formality of time, or a definition of who you are. Is everything seen as a fight to get to the top?

Each category of power has its positives and negatives to consider. If you’d like to learn more, let me know. Regardless of categorization, if your orientation to power is others focused, then the greater good will be served. If it is self-enhancement you seek, the result will be destructive leadership (Sandberg, 2015). Right now, I believe I am somewhere between low rank – at work – and emerging power – personally.

What power do you have, and what will you do with it?

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