Tiffany's Tip of the Month
Access Your Personal Power
In these tough economic times and constant onslaught of "bad news" perpetuated in the media, it's easy to understand how some people can feel powerless.
While there may be little that you can control on global or national scale, you certainly do have control over your own personal power and how you use it to the best of your ability.
Lets' examine three primary sources of personal power and how to use it for good:
- Expert power: This is power that you earn through experience, education, and/or reputation. Many people underestimate their expert power because they assume it's nothing special. Once you realize that not everyone has your expertise, you can use it in unique and effective ways to gain influence and make more visible, valuable contributions to your company, community, or even family environment. For example, a friend, who is an expert accountant, is helping her father with bills and financial issues regarding her deceased mother's estate.
- Reward power: Everyone has the power to reward and recognize others. Some people think they need positional power to reward others financially or with grand gestures, but the simple truth is that most people feel under-appreciated. So, a simple "thank you" or email to the person's boss explaining why the person deserves recognition goes a long way. Not only will the person who you're acknowledging feel good, but you'll feel better too and win more friends.
- Referent power: Referent power is the least understood, yet it can be very powerful. You have referent power when you are liked, desired, respected, transformed, or inspired by other people. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Pope John Paul II all had referent power, and did great good with it. However, Hitler, Stalin, and Osama Bin Laden all abused their referent power with devastating consequences. Referent power can only be given to you by others and hence it can be taken away by them too. To keep referent power, use it sparingly and with positive intent and good will towards others.
Once you have a better awareness and understanding of your own personal power, you can wield it to make your own world a better place to live and work. Knowing this may help you increase your feeling of power regardless of uncontrollable events, so you can have more control over your own life and positively influence those around you.
As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." And thank you in advance, for using your reward power.
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