23 Ways To Act With Power

Power is one of those elusive elements we all like to have in some form. We all want more, no one wants less. Yes, the power to direct outcomes in all facets of our life, power over our personal beings and circumstances.

From a management perspective power is that thing that enables us to get things done. Power enables us to command a crew of people and get results. Power enables us to climb the ranks to greater levels of accountability and challenge. Power enables us to create purpose and meaning, if we choose to.

On the flipside, like a knife, used inappropriately, power can cause destruction. The pursuit of power is often bought at great cost. So how do we use and operate with power, without a pathway of destruction, but rather like it was meant to be used: to build up.

Here we go, take a little soundness of mind, keep it real and simple. Here are the Work Like An Artst (WLAA) tactics to acting with power.

01: Never seek to impress; don't look for approval.

This is a crucial point. Tone down the need to be approved by others. Seeking to impress is fine, but make sure it is someone you admire and consider to be a positive role model. Don't be the contributor to a workplace "kiss up" culture. This is a tantamount to selling your soul. To use power effectively you need your soul intact.

02: Be straight with people.

We all appreciate it when people are honest with us. People don't appreciate game playing or being played. Feedback needs to be honest and ulterior motive free.

03: Plan to improve yourself through daily habits.

You don't just get better over time. A little thought about the kind of person you want to be added to your daily routine goes a long way to shaping the person you will end up being.

04: Seek out ways to demonstrate gratitude.

There is just never enough appreciation around. We try drum this into our kids. We seek this from our staff. But how often do we pay it forward. People need to know they matter and they need to know they make a difference. If you are not going to get rid of your staff they must be worthy of recognition. Catch them doing things right and be sure they see you demonstrate gratitude for the things small and large that make your workplace work.

05: Never be the one to have the last word.

This is a tough one. You're the boss. Your guys need to know you know stuff and that's why you are the boss. Wrong! Come on! This is 2012. We are bigger than that. We know more about human behaviour than we did in 1982. Make your point, sell, market your vision, strategy and or mission and get engagement and let the crew finish with the last word. Let them own the outcome. Engineer your conversations so that your staff find their voice to get things done.

06: Be interested, listen and take an interest in things and people.

It’s really sad to see managers who are so self absorbed that they can't suspend their own agenda long enough to hear the agenda of another. Listen, listen and listen. This is leadership 101. Be self aware and develop the curiosity to be genuinely interested in the perspective of others. This isn't always easy. Doing this pulls in serious influencing clout up and down the hierarchy. It builds trust and develops a valued reputation. We all know how awesome it is to be heard. Pay it back.

07: Make a contribution; make things better.

Why are you a manager? Why are you a "insert your title here"? Perhaps one of the reasons should be to leave things in a better way than you found them. Your presence should have a positive and hopefully measurable impact. You need to deliver value, value visible from anyone's perspective, not just your own.

08: Never apologize for your differences; for being different.

"Hey, I'm sorry for being me." How ludicrous a statement is that? Sadly a lot of people act in a way that says just that. Fitting in may be your strategy or game plan; don't fit in at the cost of your confidence and edge. You need your edge to cut the mustard. And I think we all like to see edginess at play in work. Sharpen your edge and let it be.

09: Develop the ability to pause before responding.

As humans we are reaction machines. It's what we are all gifted to do without any training. Its "under-reacting" that’s bloody hard. Stephen Covey hit the nail on the head with this statement: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. That space is the ability to choose your response." The stuff that cuts and breaks trust are responses that arrive before the thinking. Take a second, process the stimulus, choose your riposte and make it work.

10: Let your words prove to be few.

I stole this one from the book of Proverbs. Don't pour your guts out. Conceal your intentions. Say less than is necessary. Loose lips sink ships. Get the point? Say what you have to say in the shortest way possible. Say it in simple ways that people can grasp first time around. Be clear, consistent and concise. Drop the excessive use of buzz words (they make one look like a poser).

11: Don’t laugh at peoples jokes that you do not find funny.

It’s easy to think that laughing at others jokes is a way of aligning yourself and playing the good subordinate. The reality is that genuine laughter is unmistakable. A fake laugh sells you out. It makes one look like a charlatan. A game player. It looks like you are sucking up. Never suck up. Deliver "water tight" results, but don't suck up.

12: Be comfortable with silence and solitude; pursue it.

Ever felt the need to fill the silence gap in a conversation? Fight the urge to fill it. Resist with all your might. Let those silences flow. It actually creates more of a connection. Being comfortable with a hiatus in a conversation demonstrates a sense of personal confidence and ease. It's attractive. Apart from conversations, moments of solitude are crucial to gather thoughts, quiet your mind and recieve answers.

“The great omission in life is solitude. . . that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which is the incinerator of the spirit.” --anonymous.

13: Demonstrate care, even when no one else does.

Care enough to make a difference. Care enough to be where you are, for a purpose. Care enough to improve the state of things. Care for something big and hinge yourself on that. All great people throughout history cared about something. We remember people who care and forget those who do not. Those who care leave a legacy.

14: Stand for something, have a view and communicate it.

Develop a perspective. Don't just sit on the fence. Don’t fit in. Add some grit to the place. Shake things up. Make some noise. Crush it. Smash it. Whatever your bliss make it known.

15: Acknowledge there is always someone better than you.

Find a better opponent to make a better you. You will never be the "mack daddy". Position is relative and so is title. At all costs park your ego, permanently if possible. Humility is a better crown than arrogance, hubris and pride.

16: Don’t explain yourself, unless asked.

It’s easy to explain why we do the things we do. It’s tempting to promote what we do. Power does not need to promote. It just is. Unless you are asked don't go out of your way to tell people at large why you have done what you did. Engage with those interested enough to ask. Be OK with making a call on your own. Be cool with making decisions without sanction by others. Just be.

17: Don’t initiate talk about your accomplishments.

Telling others how good you are and what you have done is a massive "no-go" zone. It is almost embarrassing. Just deliver and people will know your value. The moment you wax on about your achievements people tune out. Your achievements are there to be spoken of by others but not yourself.

18: Develop a keen awareness of your impact on others.

Self-awareness is crucial to our ability work well with people and even more to manage them. Adding to this there is the need to adapt your behaviour in cases where your impact is having a negative effect. In cases where the effect is positive, keep doing that. Know the difference.

19: Plan to adapt your behaviour.

Our behaviour does not change spontaneously. We have to know what we want to change about our behaviour. Next, we have to know how we will do that and then we have to plan to put those changes in place. Positive change in our behaviours ties into our self-awareness and the desire to improve. It isn’t simple and it takes time, planning is crucial. Get a journal and listen to Jim Rohn's audio program on how to use a journal.

20: Embrace a sense of balance in your life: Work, family, play, health, spirit, etc.

Imbalance is not cool. It makes one look subjective, lacking in perspective. It is also unnatural. Building the whole wheel of your life is crucial to being able to dispense ones power effectively. It too creates a more believable sense of credibility.

21: Believe in something. Develop your spiritual consciousness. Have faith.

Are we a touch too consumed with possession and materialism? We are more spiritual than we realise and as such we need to develop that element in our lives.

“In order to experience everyday spirituality, we need to remember that we are spiritual beings spending some time in a human body.” --Barbara De Angelis

22: Make decisions; act with a sense of urgent decisiveness.

Having the courage to act with a sense of certainty is one of the hallmarks those with power. Make a decision and live with the consequences. You cannot make progress without making decisions. Results are the fruitage of decisions.

"It's in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped." --Anthony Robbins.

23: Admit ignorance where applicable.

You'll never know it all. We all get irked by a "know it all". If you don’t know something don’t pretend you do. Be cool with your relative limitations. Embrace the moments when we can learn from someone else. We are always growing.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end!
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