No pun intended, but power is a powerful workforce tool. It determines what gets talked about in government, how it gets talks about, who is invited to the conversation and what ultimately happens.
The Center for Leadership Studies released a report in 2015 on the bases of power in our work sectors. They determined there are seven bases of power in our public workplaces.
Authority that is reliant on creating dependency on organizational members through fear, limits of free expression, punishment and threats for its existence.
Employees who wield this power:
• Think they know everything.
• Hoard their talent.
• Motivate by creating stress.
• Make decisions first and debate them last.
Where a person attains influence by gaining favor or simply acquaintance with powerful, important and influential people through networking. Our governments are built on this kind of power-it is called politics.
Position obtained through the ability to distribute awards and recognition. Our supervisors wield this power over our heads since they control the kind of bonuses and handouts we receive for our work.
Power given to someone through a title or role usually reserved for the top echelons of the organization and accompanied by oversight authority above people at the bottom of the establishment. I get pushed around a lot by this type of power when program people ask, “What is the diversity and inclusion guy doing at this meeting?”
Behaving in way that earns the respect and trust of others. This is the most potent base of power. People with integrity and charism often wield this type of power. President-elect Donald Trump excels with this kind of influence.
Power rooted in control and access to information that is needed by others. This is oftentimes a temporary situation due to the difficulty of information leaks and the challenge of hoarding data. Project managers and team leaders flourish with information power.
The perception that one possesses subject matter knowledge, skills and experience. This kind of power is challenging to sustain since it demands continuous learning and development. In my agency I run into this power frequently from baby boomer and traditionalist lifers who have been incarcerated in the same workplace their entire career who frequently say-wait your turn.
The Center for Leadership Studies found that across generations of employees, referent power, information power, and expert power were the most compelling bases of power.
I think the most powerful people in the workplace are those who share power. Instead of having power over people they empower others.
Want to find your super power? Find your purpose. It is all the power you will ever need.