As leaders, we all wield significant power—but not the old-model version of bossing people around and yelling “you’re fired!” if they don’t make the grade.
True power calls us to connect with others and to connect them with their own strengths, encourage them and lead them toward places they wouldn’t normally go to on their own.
That’s the best kind of power, but it can easily fall through the cracks of day-to-day leadership.
As an executive leadership coach, I sometimes find myself having to remind my clients of how powerful they really are, and the ways in which they can exercise that power.
Here are 7 types of power so effective that they’re practically superpowers:
1. Persuasion. Your ability to persuade others—to win them over to your point of view and inspire them to action—is grounded in your relationship with that person and in your own integrity. When you carry out your own role with excellence and a commitment to serving others, you can persuade others with genuine authority.
2. Positivity. To stay positive in the worst times, when everyone around you has given in to negativity, automatically elevates your work and message. Positivity gives hope and purpose to others when they need it most and leads your team to the highest level of accomplishment.
3. Observation. Many people are too busy to even notice their surroundings or their circumstances. Sometimes the power of a great leader comes from the simple act of slowing down enough to take a look around and assess what you see. Observation allows you to pinpoint problems and issues—and their solutions—early on.
4. Decisiveness. While others pride themselves on being a great thinkers, great leaders understand the power of decisiveness. They observe and assess, then act quickly and confidently without second-guessing their conclusions. Even if you get it wrong once in a while, you’ll still outperform those who are slow to act.
5. Modesty. It may go against intuition, but modesty is a secret weapon of some of the greatest leaders. When you’re modest you stay teachable and humble, no matter how much you already know. You see yourself as a servant and a student more than a master, and you exhibit a willingness to engage with others that leads to respect.
6. Tenacity. If you could have only one leadership superpower, this is the one you’d want. In many situations it’s the factor that determines your chances for success. When everything around you is falling apart and you respond with determination, courage, persistence, and strength, that’s character. And genuine character is the highest form of power.
7. Insight. Vision is one of the most important factors in leadership, and insight is the highest form of vision. With insight you really can see around corners and through walls to know what’s really going on and gain a feel for the underlying issues. A single moment of insight can be as powerful as a lifetime of experience—but it’s a skill that has to be built and nurtured.
Lead from within: It may feel vain to consider your sources of power, but they’re the things you need to fulfill the responsibilities of leadership—and the more you understand them, the stronger they become.
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