Power, some people have it and others want it. Forbes recently released their list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Womenwhich highlightswomen such as First Lady Michelle Obama and IBM’s Chief Executive Officer Virginia Rometty. “Power is the capacity or potential to influence” (Northouse). Power equals influence, which gives a person the ability to affect the attitudes, beliefs, and actions of others. Research shows that people who have power are: likable, knowledgeable, and/or possess status or job authority. Being powerful means feeling able to determine your destiny and having a sense of control over your life and its direction (Kouzes & Posner). Powerful people know how to mobilize support and resources for their objectives. You don’t have to be rich or famous to be powerful.
How do you increase your power? Here are some ways to increase your personal power quotient:
1- Be visible. Manage your professional presence this includes your appearance, behavior, and communication. Tout your successes to ensure that people know your strengths, platform, and areas of expertise. Work hard in public and in private to build a reputation for getting things done. Get involved in organizations within your community by volunteering, helping on a campaign, or serving on nonprofit boards.
2- Be a person of excellence and integrity. Endeavor to be the best version of yourself, that women that you always wanted to be and the one you would like to have as a friend, role model, or mentor. Be excellent because excellence matters. Be honest, reliable, and do what you say you are going to do even when it’s inconvenient.
3- Have a plan and focus on your priorities. Define your life’s mission and focus on your passion. Direct all of your activities to fulfill your mission. Determine specific goals; write them down and track your progress.
As you press toward your goals, help others along the way. If you focus on self-improvement you become someone people will follow. But power can only be determined based on how you affect others.
4- Be others focused. Enrich the lives of others. Mentor and empower those around you to become more knowledgeable, confident, and successful. Search for the best in others, encourage and nurture their gifts, and empower them for success. Don’t just praise your employees or those under your leadership. People at every level need support. One thing many people forget as they reach their goals is to help others succeed; this creates a win-win.
5- Consider your relationships. Create a support team comprised of experienced professionals, thought leaders, and career strategists to serve as your own personal board of directors. Your board members should advise, mentor, and advocate for you. Seek out individuals that can assist you in different ways to fulfill your mission, and listen and learn from them. They will become champions for you and this will provide you with new opportunities.
Working well with others is essential in today’s work place. Follow the Golden Rule, and always treat others with respect and kindness, by doing this you create goodwill for yourself.
6- Be positive. You will need a positive attitude to fulfill your goals and to press on as problems arise.
Do good and use your powers for good. Even if you have power because of your position, use it to make people and the organizations you belong to better, more effective, and efficient. When you concentrate on others you will earn their respect and improve your relationships.
If you purpose to do these things, you will boost your self-confidence, effectiveness, and automatically your personal power increases. Being powerful doesn’t mean making the Forbes list of Women Who Run the World it means being your best self and making a difference in the lives of those you come in contact with.
Yvette T. Dupree is a doctoral candidate in the department of Workforce Education at The University of Georgia. She is passionate about issues related to education, career, and leadership. Yvette is a certified marketing and business education teacher who continues to contribute to career and technical education as she completes her graduate studies. Ms. Dupree was recently recognized as Educator of the Year by the Georgia Marketing Education Association (GMEA). She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing in 2003 and Master of Arts in Teaching in Occupational Studies in 2007 from The University of Georgia. Ms. Dupree is an active community leader, volunteer, and a 2012 graduate of Leadership Clayton sponsored by the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Dupree is a member of several civic, professional, and honorary organizations including, The Junior League of Atlanta, Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education, the American Marketing Association, and Omicron Tau Theta Graduate Honor Society.
Follow Yvette Dupree on Twitter @yvettedupree