Power – as soon as you hear that word what do you think of? Perhaps status and position? Potentially someone at work you are not keen on who has power? Maybe even government?
There are many different thoughts and reactions to the word. Typically power at work is usually most related to a job role/position. However, have you noticed how sometimes people who are not necessarily considered ‘senior’ are powerful? That is because there are actually 13 different types of power, according to The Academy for Political Intelligence. It means there is another reason for their power.
Some types of power may be more relevant than others at different times but it’s certainly important to consider them and think about which are important for you and your career. Also, it’s vital to be aware of what sorts of power others have. This awareness will help you interact with them in a more politically intelligent way.
13 types of power
- Information – I influence others because I have (or control) information that is valuable to them and I am comfortable using information as a lever to get what I want.
- Resource – I influence others because of the resources control, and I am comfortable in negotiating with others the use of my resources in order to get what I want.
- Positional (or ‘legitimate ‘) – I influence others because I hold a powerful position in the social or organisational structure, and I am comfortable that people recognise the invisible label I wear that says ‘I am an important person’, as it helps me to get what I want.
- Proxy – I influence others because I am connected to (or know) powerful and/or important people, and I am comfortable stating this association to others in order to get what I want.
- Reward (‘carrot ‘) – I influence others because I can reward those that comply with my ‘requests’, and I am comfortable giving rewards (of all types) in order to get what I want.
- Sanctions (‘stick ‘) – I influence others because I can impose sanctions (punish) those who do not do as I ask, and I am comfortable using this power when appropriate to get what I want. I may rarely use this type of power but others recognise it is an option that I have.
- Favour – I influence others through building ‘banks’ of favours with others, and am comfortable asking for favours in return in order to get what I want.
- Expert (or ‘technical/functional specialism ‘) – I influence others because I possess expert or specialist knowledge that thee consider to be valuable, and I am comfortable using my ‘technical’ or ‘functional specialism ‘ expertise to get what I want.
- Personal – I influence others because of who I am, people like me, and I am comfortable using my ‘charm ‘, ‘personality ‘, ‘physical attributes’, or by ‘flexing ‘ my behaviour and preferred ‘style ‘, to get what I want.
- Status – I influence others because of the status I have within the group (e.g. most experienced, longest serving, loudest, the highest educated, etc.), and I am comfortable using my status to get what I want.
- Charisma – I influence others because others want to follow me (e.g. due to my ‘vision ‘, ‘enthusiasm ‘, ‘passion ‘, ‘beliefs’, ‘integrity ‘, ‘honesty ‘ etc.), and I am comfortable being perceived as ‘role model ‘ or ‘example of best practice ‘, because it helps me to get what I want.
- Social – I influence others because I possess highly developed social skills that put people at ease in social settings, and I am comfortable using social events to get what I want in work.
- Success – I influence others because I have a reputation for delivering results, achieving targets, exceeding expectations etc. and I am comfortable being known as being a high performer as it helps me to get what I want.
- So which ones stand out for you? Which types of power does that non senior person at work possess? What power could you focus on?
Power is important; there is nothing wrong with having it, although it must be used appropriately and ethically for the most effective business relationships and outcomes. There is no doubt that opting out of power (giving it up) and positive political intelligence will be career limiting.
To read my comprehensive guide to ‘office politics’ click here.
If you’d like to understand how politically intelligent you are by carrying out a profiling diagnostic and working through in detail the behaviours (and power sources) you need to work on, to navigate your organisation’s landscape better for career success, then contact me.
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