Power is a word used in business all the time. Customer power, competitor power, decision making power etc. This month we have explored what power is and whether leaders are comfortable with their power and the responsibility it places on them.
According to David Hawkins, in his book Power vs. Force, he defines power as “the alignment of our thoughts and actions with our highest values and principles to achieve our goals”. He says it is characterized by feelings of love, joy, and peace.
This contrasts with Force. Force, is “the use of manipulation or coercion to get what we want”, and it is associated with negative emotions such as fear, anger, and aggression.
So often, we confuse force and power. This confusion leads to each of us having a complex relationship with our own personal power as we misunderstand it and think it is force. Because of the negative experience of force, we resist it. This leads to us minimising our personal power.
I am working with a dynamic and incredibly smart manager who has been denied promotion to the executive level, twice. The hurt and loss of self confidence due to these rejections is palpable. The explanation is also unclear. He has the technical, leadership, attitudinal and strategic competencies to fulfil a strategic position but his company continues to choose someone. The reason was baffling until he began to explore his relationship with power. Although he has everything that is required, he was deeply uncomfortable with his own personal power. He realised that he boxes and hides his power. He plays small. He compromises when he needs to stand in his power and be assertive. He worries about what others think rather than trusting he can lead himself and others through his decisions. He abdicates decision making and seeks external validation.
It was inspiring to watch as he realised how he had been minimising his personal power. Executives require confidence in one’s own power.
What supported him was to recognise HIS power. Power is unique for each of us. Some power is more subtle and others bolder. Some softer others louder. What is common is that power moves things forward and is constructive and impactful.
As he connected with his power and recognised his power’s style and identity, his power became authentic. He felt comfortable and confident letting it shine. He is, once again, being considered for a promotion. I believe that this time, he will be successful.
Power, as defined by David Hawkins, is critical for leaders in the complex and uncertain world we live in. Power allows others to feel safe with us. Power allows us to work with others, take them on the journey with us and achieve great success together. Power makes us self-confident. We can trust in ourselves and our ability to navigate the unknown. How well are you embracing your personal power and allowing it to constructively achieve success?