Power. Power of belief. Power to overcome. Power to change your life, your destiny, your organization, your community. Power to change the world. Personal power. Power dynamics. Power over people. Emotional power, power through leverage, power through influence, power given, power taken, power by permission, physical power, power through wealth. Uses of power, abuses of power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely? Power to control. Increasing your power, giving up your power, empowering others. The power to resist.
Power is needful and having power matters.
Power is needful and having power matters. In my musings above on the types of power, uses of power, and power dynamics I realized that many of us are obsessed with power. If you are reading this you likely want to increase your power in some way. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having a certain amount of power is fundamental to being able to accomplish anything meaningful. You will have to use either your own power or your power (ability) to enlist the power of others in order to accomplish anything that matters. If you desire to lead you desire a good thing. If you desire to lead at a higher level you desire a good thing. Increasing your power is fundamental to being able to accomplish more and leading at a higher level.
Most of us are afraid to talk about our desire for power.
Most of us are afraid to talk about our desire for power in direct terms. It may not be “socially acceptable” in some circles to discuss power directly so we use softer terms like leadership, influence, doing things that matter, making a difference, leading a team, getting results. What underlies all of this is a desire and a need for power. Your motive in seeking power may be truly altruistic but it is still a desire for power. Power is necessary.
Many “good” leadership principles do not lead to an increase in your leadership ability!
Unfortunately, many supposedly “good” leadership principles do not lead to an increase in your leadership ability because they do not deal with the power, political, or people dynamics in play! While you may have worthy motives and a genuine desire to do more good in the world it would be naïve to think that everyone around you is the same. Face the fact that there are those that desire power for all of the wrong reasons and that will go to great lengths to get it without concern for integrity, humility, or who gets hurt in the process. You likely know many examples of this and have, perhaps, experienced it yourself.
Are you aware of what’s going on behind the scenes?
Are you aware of what’s going on behind the scenes? Have you been stabbed in the back in the workplace, know of someone who has, been passed over for promotion, seen the opportunity you thought was yours go to someone else? Did you overlook the power dynamics in play? Were you aware of what the “players” were thinking or doing? Did you think your results were enough? Were you aware of the backroom conversations taking place that affected the outcome? Were you aware of the politics?
You may have to deal with some snakes.
You may have to deal with some snakes who try to outmaneuver you or even desire to do you harm. The snakes are not everywhere but they are around and you should be aware of them. The good news is there are good people with leadership strengths everywhere. Good, character-driven leaders make a positive difference in their organizations, communities, and the world. I believe in the “power” of humility. Your “ascension”, however, may be necessary in order to keep the snakes from making the wrong kind of difference!
Let’s fill the leadership ranks with quality, character-driven leaders!
Let’s fill the leadership ranks with quality, character-driven leaders! Leadership abhors a vacuum. Do you really want the wrong kind of leader to fill the void? Then you need to step up and use the power you have to prevent that from happening! It is not humility to standby and allow others to take leadership when you can make a powerful and positive difference. Sir Edmund Burke is often attributed with the idea that “all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good men (and women!) to do nothing.” If you genuinely desire to do good then you you should use the power you have to lead and serve others.
Most leadership decisions are made behind closed doors with only 1-2 people.
Do you know that most leadership decisions are made behind closed doors with only 1-2 people, at most three, making the decision? Do you know who those people are? Have you built your power (influence, reputation, visibility, credibility, integrity, results, relationship) with these individuals? Do they know what you want? Do you know what they want? What if the decision makers think you are content with what you have? Do they know you want to do more? Have you told them? Do you think “doing a good job”, “working hard”, “being faithful”, letting your results “speak for themselves” is enough? It Never Is! Good results are expected of everyone. They are the baseline to enter and to stay in the game but they do not move you around the chessboard. You have to develop “power” with those who have power over you.
Leadership is using your power and enlisting or strengthening the power of others to accomplish your or your organization’s goals.
Leadership is using your power and enlisting or strengthening the power of others to accomplish your or your organization’s goals. You need power to accomplish anything. You may need the power of others to accomplish something meaningful. Others need your power in their service or you may need to strengthen their power in some area to achieve a mutual goal. You also have the power to decide where and how your power is deployed. Most of us do not understand the power we already have. All of us, at some level, are powerful. You are powerful. People have power over you but you also have power over others. How you both use and submit to power is indicative of your character and your values.
There are many reasons we want power.
There are many reasons we want power, some conscious, some unconscious. Most of us have not taken the time to think through why we want power. Here are some questions to consider:
What do I want to accomplish in my relationships, life, or organization?
What is necessary to accomplish these goals?
What skills, resources, and power do I have to accomplish these goals?
Whose skills, resources, and power do I need?
Do I have the skills, resources, and power to get what I need?
If I do not have the power (ability) to obtain what I need, how can I get the power to get what I need?
Am I willing to do what is required?
Be honest about what you want to do, why, and what is necessary to get it done while paying attention to the reality of the world in which we live. Power is necessary. There may be a price to pay to get it but you can be a force for good and use your power to better your relationships, your life, your organization, and the world. Be the character-driven leader the world needs!
Do you agree or disagree? Either way, I would love to hear your comments!
This blog is one way I try to invest in others and to encourage character-driven leadership in life and business. If I can help feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information please visit www.leadershipfirsts.com.
By Alan Buttery