How to Gain Power when you Feel Powerless
Many emails I receive concern frustration caused by feeling powerless. Something’s wrong and change seems unlikely.
Abuse gives power a bad name, but you need power to get things done.
How to gain power when you feel powerless:
#1. Increase power by connecting with competent others.
Connect with one or two influential people. Don’t network with everyone. Be strategic.
Connect with people who know how things work and get things done.
Connect to learn, not simply to create a revolution.
Be curious. Ask questions that begin with what, who, and how.
- What’s important?
- What works?
- Who might know?
- How can I help?
#2. Increase power by leveraging competencies.
Don’t volunteer for every project that comes down the pike.
Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
Join projects and teams where you make a positive difference. Leverage your strengths. Stay away from doing things that require you to do things you don’t do well.
#3. Increase power by helping others, as long as you deliver great results.
Don’t help others if it means you don’t get your own job done.
#4. Increase power by bringing positive energy.
How do people feel when you show up? Happy to see you arrive or happy when you leave?
- Notice what’s happening when energy on your team goes up. Do more of that.
- Turn conversations to the future. A negative past sucks the life out of everyone.
#5. Increase power by getting involved in a new and growing area.
It’s useful to fix old problems. But new projects often receive the spotlight.
#6. Increase power by learning relevant new skills.
Learn a new skill that might solve nagging frustrations or disappointments.
#7. Increase power by focusing on personal change.
Trying to change others is frustrating, especially if they have position and you don’t.
If you want a quick win, change yourself.
How might people who feel powerless increase their power?
Great post, Dan!
I agree with you on so many of these. I am a firm believer in controlling what you can control. When we fixate on controlling the uncontrollable (mainly people), we can become overwhelmed and stressed. But as we learn more and more to focus on us, the attitude, mindset, and work ethic, I believe we will find more wins.
Thanks Josh…. attitude, mindset, and work ethic. Those three things are enough to keep most of us busy! Cheers
Love this post!! “If you want a quick win, change yourself” Thanks Dan!
Liked the post and the tips as given!
I have always felt that the selective networking helps where you can share useful things of common interest. It also allows you to keep updated on your passionate areas by learning on new things.
One can increase the power by reading relevant things to enhance knowledge. Even, meeting right people at professional or social platforms too can help you remain connected. Such contacts can be beneficiary both ways. You can be of help to guide others with your competence and can contribute for the well-being of society in general.
Poweless people can become powerful by captivating those positive habits that create power and letting go of habits that don’t serve anymore.
We have a constant learning process that power comes as we progress in our surroundings as we mature.
In school the Teacher has the power to educate us in a positive manner as we grow we inherit/ acquire levels of power on our journey through life, marriage and parenting for example.
Power is a tool that can become reckless if used inappropriately.
Try not to rule, trying being an equal willing to share power, such as delegating leadership.
I suggest a step #0, “Cultivate your character and guard your reputation.” it’s a riff on #7 and is the outcome of #3, #4, and #6. I’ve found it essential. My reputation has protected me from false accusations and given my ideas wings even when I wasn’t around.