Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ultimate Leadership - Influential Power

Human beings experience various forms of power in life. For instance the most common forms of power that are used by people are Bestowed Power and Borrowed Power.

Bestowed power comes with a position, title, role etc. In the professional context it could be a job with authority. Let's call it a Director. So when an individual gets this role, they are able to exercise power that is bestowed upon this role.  A director may be able to approve things, order changes to occur, tell others what is to be done because of how that role is defined.

However the power lies in the role as long as the individual does not separate his / her own persona from it. People will generally obey because the Director said so and not because they believe in what the individual is saying. When such individuals relinquish their role, they may find themselves dealing with an identity crisis. All of a sudden no one wants to listen to them. Why? Because the power they were exercising was by virtue of what was bestowed upon them through the position/title.

Then there is borrowed power where individuals associate a decision with an external source of power. A classic example is when you hear - I want you to follow this instruction because the CEO has asked me to make it happen. Here the individual is referring to another source of power and the association creates power to flow into the situation. Again, people may follow or abide because of the relation to that external power and not because they really believe in what the individual is stating.

Both bestowed power and borrowed power are easy to practice. However over time, an individual loses the ability to use their own conviction, belief, intelligence and become reliant entirely on the external source of power.

REAL leadership is about influence. The power of influence cannot be borrowed or bestowed. It comes from a set a of deep rooted underlying beliefs, values and conviction of an individual. It can manifest in many ways however each time it does, there is humility, genuineness and strong compelling force - all of which combined constitute the influential power.

Think about some of the most successful leaders the world has seen - they do not rely on a title, hierarchy, position etc. - they rely on what they believe in and communicate that belief with conviction. And when those beliefs resonate with others, they follow the leader.

Real, sustainable and lasting leadership at its core always has influential power.

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