For some individuals, the idea of power carries negative connotations. In successful leadership, however, power doesn’t imply manipulation or coercion, but valuable knowledge and skills paired with the ability to build relationships. The old saying that you have to earn respect is true in every arena. Find out how power, influence and presence combine to make an effective leader.
1. Correctly Define Power
An inauthentic leader think power is the ability to make people do things. This approach immediately creates resistance, because it carries the idea that the person with power ignores the will, desires or well-being of those who have less power.
Executive coaching can train managers to use power effectively. A MetrixGlobal LLC case study found coaching produced a stunning 529 percent return on every dollar invested, along with significant intangible benefits.
Help managers and employees see that they have control and influence whatever their position within your organization by recognizing where power comes from. Formal power comes with a position. A title can make one person have the ability to give raises, take disciplinary action or grant requests. However, it isn’t the only type of power.
Informal power isn’t just based on title, but on a blend of knowledge, skills, and resourcefulness. Authentic leaders don’t just rely on their formal power, but they strengthen personal authority by doing the following:
- Minimizing conflict and creating a collaborative environment.
- Maintain curiosity and be a lifelong learner.
- Listen to what others say. People will talk about what’s important to them, and information is power.
- Develop relationships. Instead of relying on discipline or rewards to motivate, encourage and support.
- Use your power for good. Be on their side so they have the support to reach their highest potential.
2. Develop Influence
The most intelligent leaders with the sharpest insight are ineffective if their teams won’t listen to them. One of the simplest ways managers can influence decisions and behavior is simply through proximity. Instead of sending an email, walk a few steps down the hall and have conversations in person. Don’t wait for the meeting or the final evaluation to give your input, have face-to-face conversations regularly.
The people you are leading are more likely to listen when they feel you understand where they’re coming from. Set the standard for hard work by being willing to do the tasks you’re asking of them. Don’t just assign roles for the next project, take one for yourself. Be willing to take the same risks you ask of them. Have people’s backs when things go wrong, and when things go right, step out of the spotlight.
3. Create Presence
The most powerful leaders are authentic. They are dedicated to their mission and committed to their organization. When they walk in a room, the space becomes charged with their passion.
A large percentage of what we say has to do with body language. If you are beginning to develop your personal presence, make a habit of straightening your posture, not fidgeting and looking people in the eye. In areas where you’re an expert, express what you know. When you’re not, be honest and seek to add to your knowledge.
Be mindful of your facial expressions. Make an effort to be open and welcoming so that you appear approachable.
Influencing with a powerful presence changes interactions and creates teams out of individuals. Effective leaders develop their presence by reflecting on their emotions and attitudes, then adapting to each situation with authenticity.