Power, it is in you but will you use it?
Everybody seems to be after power. But what is it? And what are you supposed to do once you have it? Is it possible to that you have more power than you think you do? Are you just letting it go to waste?
I am going to be covering a few very key pieces of information to keep in mind when it comes to having and using power in the modern working world.
The first thing we need to address is this: What IS power? Power could be defined as “ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.” Or “the possession of control or command over people; authority” or “delegated authority; authority granted to a person or persons in a particular office or capacity.” This seems to be a wide range of meanings. But the origin of the word is: “C13: from Anglo-Norman poer, from Latin posse to be able.” Long story short, the word “Power” implies that someone or something is ABLE TO DO. If one can keep his own discipline in and make deadlines, he is powerful. If he has the authority to command others at work, he is powerful. If you can get your spouse to agree with you and do the things you want to do, you are powerful. If an employee gets more done around a workplace than the boss, the employee could be said to be more powerful than the employer. (There is nothing wrong with this, and is quite a good thing, as I will cover later.)
If power is simply the ability to DO or ACHIEVE something, would it not be fair to say that everyone on your staff, your family, your friends, etc. SHOULD be allowed to be powerful? Power is a strange thing in that quite a lot of people fear power in others. They think that there is some “limited amount of power in the universe” or some such thing. Truth is, that is not the case. If you continually try to improve your abilities and skills, you will be getting more and more powerful, and this does not rob anyone else of THEIR abilities and skills. I’m sure you can think of instances where you’ve had people be worried about others becoming more powerful. The truth is, you should seriously consider if those people are worth having in your close group of associates. If others are not willing to let you have power, you have a real situation on your hands.
The interesting thing about power is this: once one has power, it comes with the responsibility to USE IT. Power is only bad when it is not USED. It is much the same thing as having cupboards FULL of food and starving to death. If you do not use it, or use it properly, you make a mess of the business or operation. So, power comes with a responsibility and burden to use it.
Now, getting back to a more work-oriented environment. I make blogs mostly aimed at business owners, so I’ll start from the viewpoint of a business owner. After that, I do want to make mention of how this applies to employees as well. A business is only as powerful as the people in the business, so it is important to ensure that your employees are as powerful as possible too. (You need to make sure you hire the right staff, so you do not end up giving a lot of power to bad apples. This is usually where an employer’s apprehension about giving employees powers comes from: bad experiences where they have trusted an employee with power, and they made a mess of it or abused it.)
As an employer, you already have a fair amount of power by status alone. You are the decision maker. You are the one who has the final say over all activities of the business. You can say who stays and who goes. If you do not properly delegate and define functions and duties of the positions, then you will end up over-worked and over-loaded with employees that ‘seem to do nothing’. What is happening is you are not giving them the power, or authority, to do what they need without you needing to step in and “decide what to do” or approve their work. If you want a powerful business, you need to make sure that every employee is as powerful as they can be. Meaning, that they can DO THEIR JOB, or part of their job without having to stop and interrupt other employees to get the job done, or worse, interrupt you. Communication is VERY important inside of the business, and you need to have set times and communication channels for co-ordination. But if the business is set up where anyone can come talk to anyone at anytime about anything, I assure you that your business’s power and production will drop.
As an employer, you want to make sure you support those that are supporting you. You need to delegate the power you have into your employees, and they in turn amplify that power into you through accomplishment of your targets and goals.
Now, an employee needs to know the above. This is the secret to job security. Your job as an employee in acquiring power in a business you do not own is this: you need to have your duties and job title very clearly named and documented. Next, YOU need to make sure that you get your employer’s agreement that you have certain authorities and approval to do what you need to do to get done your functions of your job. After that, you simply get the work done, and make sure that the other employees around you respect you as a position of authority on YOUR job, and do not cut across or interfere with things you’re supposed to be responsible for without proper approval through you.
In this way, you will free up your employer so he can get more work done on HIS job. And you will likely find yourself with a promotion or pay raise in no time.
You might say “Sure Jonathan, that’s all great to say, but I don’t have the power to get that authority. I’m just an employee.” To that I would say, you hold a lot more power that you imagine. Your employer needs you, and he needs you to be as effective as you can be on the job. You might think that it is impossible to pry responsibility from your employer, or to find any time to talk to him because he is so busy. Maybe they are a bit rude at times and you do not think they trust you? Whatever it is, you have the power of communicating to the other employees, and your employer. You really NEED to clearly define your duties and get every communication channel and authority to act you will need to do that duty. And no one else is going to do it besides YOU. Even in a well-established business, you still need to track down various people and authority and find out how to do things best. There are very few businesses out there that will have every laid out on a silver platter for you with a company-wide announcement that you are now the ______ and to get in touch with you. YOU create your job, and determine how successful you, your boss and the company are.
I hope that this has been very educational for you, and I want to remind you that power comes with a responsibility to be USED. If you hold power, and you do, you NEED to use it. If you have someone telling you not to use it, you need to handle that individual one way or another.
Please feel free to reach out to me at any time. I am very passionate about seeing business owners succeeding and reaching their goals. Email me at Jonathan@RPMC.Solutions to see how I can help you out.