How to Expand Power and Lead with Honor

The ethical development and use of power is essential to leadership success. But anytime you rely on title or position, you’ve lost influence and resorted to intimidation.

power is seized influence is earned

Coercive power offends talent. Think of leaders who advance their own agenda at the expense of others.

How to gain influence-power:

Influence-power is better than power associated with position.

Power is seized. Influence is earned.

Gain influence-power by understanding others and advancing shared goals.

Contrast:

Getting/giving:

  • Corrupt power is about personal gain.
  • Power that influences is open handed. The ethical development of power includes generosity.

Listening/talking:

  • People in positions of power talk too much and listen too little.
  • People of influence listen.

Relationship:

  • Leaders with positional power want you to understand them.
  • Leaders with influence understand you.

Given:

Influence is always given – never seized.

Managers who lose influence resort to position. They push down, limit, pressure, manipulate, and coerce.

Influencers lift, expand, inspire, and set free.

Influencers add vibrancy.

Get things done:

If influencers advance the goals of others, how do they get things done? They align goals, passions, values, vision, and mission.

You can’t influence people whose goals conflict with organizational objectives.

Influence-power only works where goal-alignment exists. 

Build teams that align with organizational objectives and you create opportunities for influence, as long as you focus on shared goals.

A person of influence:

  1. Understands people.
  2. Practices humility.
  3. Builds trust.
  4. Serves the best interest of others.
  5. Works to achieve organizational objectives.
  6. Talks values more than obedience.

What does the ethical development of power look like to you?