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Principles of Power…

One of my colleagues, Chris Miller, coached a grouped of recent college graduates our company hired last quarter.  I thought his power sharing message was so empowering, I wanted to share it with you.

Speaking of power, I remember when leading my sales teams – I would trust their sales approach as long as they were above quota.  Chris would call that Reward Power.  However, when they were below quota I instructed them to do what I said; exactly the way I said; when I said; and my instructions were not open for discussion.  I suppose that was Position Power.  My team liked the former more than the latter so they tended to excel!

Speaking of leadership, earlier this year I toured the Gettysburg National Battlefield with my sons – a trip every American should make.  Gettysburg was the bloodiest, 3-day battle in American History; 53,000 casualties July 1-3, 1863.  It made me wonder what source of power the battlefield commanders had over their soldiers? I doubt it was Position Power.

How do you lead your teams; your relationships; and your life?

During Chris’ coaching session, he stated that there are many sources of power – some sources are more powerful than others.  Here’s his list:

  • Referent Power – The most powerful source of power.  It originates from Trust;
    • When Trust exists, you have access to every source of power available to the person trusting you.
  • Reward Power – The second most powerful source of power.  It involves catching someone in the act of doing something right.
  • Position Power – The least powerful source of power.  It leverages Coercive Power, but only for the short term.
  • Coercive Power – The 2nd least powerful source of power.  It offers leaders very few options;
    • Back-off and lose face.
    • Apply more coercion until completion.  This is a lose/lose approach and use of it cuts one off from Referent Power and Reward Power in the future.
  • Information Power – Being an expert brings us power.
  • Charisma; Wealth; and Love are all powerful.

Chris discussed dimensions of power:

  • Power is Historical – Protect our personal history; it can’t be rewritten.
  • Power is One Way – No one has more power than we choose to give them.
  • Power is Fragile – And can be easily abused.
  • Power is a Great Motivator.
  • Power Sharing is empowering – And creates even more power.
  • Admitting Mistakes increases power – Is it more important to be right or to have power?
  • Forgiveness is Empowering.

Chris described one, additional source of power and then concluded his remarks with the summary – Power, Value and Control are Interrelated.   The amount of power I am willing to give you depends on how much I value what you will control over me with it.

Speaking of this interrelation, that brings me back to Gettysburg.  The last power Chris included is his talk was Spiritual Power.  Spirituality is a powerful source of power.  I wonder if Spirituality was the power source for the soldiers during the battle of Gettysburg?  The extreme carnage would have been obvious to them. The likelihood that they would be killed had to have been on their mind.

Was it Spiritual Power, coupled with Value and Control that enabled their field commanders to command them?  Was it Spiritual Power that empowered them to sacrifice their lives for the Value of the United States of America remaining united?

Whatever their power source – it was definitely powerful!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

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2 Comments


  1. Gary Givan
    Sep 16, 2013

    One of my very favorites my friend…. Lets go to lunch I would love to catch up and tell you about cfactorworks.


    • Gary
      Sep 25, 2013

      Thanks for reading me Gary!

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