Power is something most people want but don’t really understand well. My definition of power is:
The ability to make something happen
Pretty simple, right. And, everyone, believe it or not, is powerful in some way.
The most powerful person isn’t always immediately apparent. Someone might act like top dog but not be; you have to look hard to see who’s the alpha. For instance, the most powerful person on a airplane is??? The crying baby. Passengers and parents will do anything to shut the kid up. Junior is influencing others and making things happen. Not good things but powerful nonetheless.
There are no gimmicks to being powerful in your business but there are rules. My chief rule:
Use your power wisely!
Know that your words, glances, silence, opinions can and DO influence others. It’s up to you to decide if that influence will be positive or negative.
Using your power isn’t something to be cavalier or thoughtless about. In fact, I’d say that using your influence for the good of others who you serve in your business is exactly what makes you a superhero. As Peter Parker’s uncle said, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’.
No fooling. I’ve taught over 1000 people to be creative problem-solvers who wield power with consideration. Every training ended with a pledge to use their superpowers for good, not evil. Power itself isn’t negative. Misusing it is.
We all know a business owner who is guilty of beating their customers and employees into submission by lauding her power over people. Not a pretty sight. My heart fills with compassion for that person because she doesn’t know how to get what she wants or needs any other way. Imagine how hard it must be for her to live with herself. (My basic premise is that most peple are good, want to do the right thing and just aren’t skillful enough…yet to do it. What’s yours?)
Different set of rules
I came across the 48 Laws of Power, compiled by Robert Greene, when I was thinking about my own rules. He pulled the list from a variety of sources including, Machavelli. I do not agree with much of this list- just to be clear.
Still, the list intrigued me because it exists. And, I could see how someone (maybe you) could be fooled into thinking that this is the way to influence others and get ahead in business. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked for for the secret to negotiating power. No secrets. No gimmicks. Just the right intention ( to do well for all) and right skills. No worries, though. I got you covered in posts to come.
For now, here’s the first five of Robert’s 48 Laws of Power with my commentary alongside. Believe me, I’m holding in a mighty rant about this list. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
5 Laws of Power …revised
- Never outshine the master …
Help others shine. Some of that brilliance is bound to reflect on you.
- Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies.
Nobody succeeds alone. Make business friends you deeply trust and learn how to see the friend in an enemy. Just because someone poops on you doesn’t mean she’s out to get you.
- Conceal your intentions.
Say what matters most to you. If you don’t share your true intentions and goals, how can you hope to find solutions that truly work. This takes real courage. Do it because it will free you in ways you can’t imagine now.
- Always say less than necessary.
Say what’s necessary and be ready to explain. Listen more than you talk; we have two ears and 1 mouth for a reason.
- So much depends on reputation. Guard it with your life.
Be who you say you are then strive to be better. My dad used to say the only thing a person truly owns is their name, meaning their reputation Be tenacious about keeping your word and protecting your reputation and brand.
Oh, there are more douzys on the list. This is a good start, though. What do you think? As always, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
PS Who’s that glamorous gorgeous girl in the picture, you ask? That’s Bart- she’s the real powerhouse around here!