Life down the drain

Power is the ability to get something done.

Power is good.

Crying babies, loud roommates, angry bosses, loving spouses, and visionary leaders, all have power.  Everyone has power.  The sweetest power is the power to influence.  Sadly, few pay attention to their power and so it goes to waste.

The plan:  First I’ll overview five types of power. (it’s not a technical list)  Then I’ll offer five reasons power goes down the drain.

Understanding your power.

Threatening someone – coercive power.  Warning:  Threatening doesn’t work well with the young work force.  And doesn’t last long with anyone.

Praise – reinforcing power.  Saying, “Great job! You’re done an hour early,” reinforces the effective use of time.

When others admire you  – referent power.  This type of power is based on respect and relationship.  People who use referent power say things like, “I need a favor.” or “It helps me when you stay late.”

Rewarding – power to confer benefit.  You can reward someone with money, status, new opportunities, access, or some other perceived benefit.

Expert power – the ability to influence others through what you do well.  For example, a trusted mechanic influences customers when he explains they need new ball-joints.

Unused power can’t be reclaimed,
its life down the drain.

Five reasons power goes down the drain.

  1. You mistakenly doubt or  forget your power.
  2. You’re too busy with your own stuff to influence others for good.
  3. You’re short-sighted and don’t have a life vision that includes positive influence.
  4. Your past failures drag you into apathy.
  5. You’re not thinking about leveraging your power to create good.

Wasted power is the greatest waste of all.


I offered five ideas explaining power wastage.  Why do you think power goes down the drain?

What suggestions can you make that reverse power wastage?


Related Posts:


Frustration or Inspiration

Listening to Fear

Purposeful Abandonment

Leadership Freak

Dan Rockwell