You are being watched.
But before you ransack the office for hidden cameras and concealed bugs, let’s be clear that this isn’t an article about secret surveillance in the workplace. People are noticing your personal power — or rather — your lack of it.
What you say, do, how you make people feel and the impact you have on others are constantly being noticed by those around you, and to make matters worse, those who are watching you are making judgement calls about you, based on how you come across.
In almost every moment of your working day, your personal power has an impact on your leaders, your peers and the people you lead.
Ask yourself: Are you seen as underconfident, lacking gravitas or ineffectual? Do you find your views and opinions are often ignored or that your ideas seem to get overlooked? Or perhaps you feel that you struggle to influence others or inspire people into action?
If any of these are true for you, then you definitely need a power boost. How can you turn up the dial on your personal power? How can you regulate your levels of confidence so that you neither come across as too weak nor too strong?
Personal power: three distinct elements
1 authority: previous positive achievements and experiences (the past)
2 presence: how you come across ‘in-this-moment’ (now)
3 impact: what happens next, as a result of your intervention (the future)
In my experience, most people go wrong by starting at the beginning. They overcompensate with their authority and presence without planning what impact they actually want to have.
Things work much better when you take a much more focused approach, which involves starting at the end.
What impact are you looking for? Would you like....
- …your ideas to be listened to and taken seriously?
- …to inspire others to think differently about a specific matter?
- …to change how people feel about you or a current situation?
- …to influence others to say or do something else?
- …to gain agreement, buy-in or support for an initiative or solution to a problem?
Whatever impact you desire to make, you’ll struggle to achieve it if you don’t have sufficient personal power.
Once you have an intention, you must keep it in mind. It can be the difference between achieving your impact goal or verbally meandering around with a noticeable lack of direction.
As you focus on the outcome you want, you’ll need to draw from, and express, your relevant, positive, personal authority and convey messages that use strong words that are carried with conviction.
As a leadership skills trainer I’m often asked if personal power is a learnable skill and I always answer with a resounding ‘yes’. Mastering it however, takes time, effort and energy – but as with all soft skills, it improves with practice and enables ordinary people to achieve incredible results.
Now that’s something worth watching.