Knowledge Center


Article -> Defining Power Principles

Date Added: August 2010

Note: This article appeared in the August 15, 2010 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.

A recent study discussed the importance of power and how to properly exercise power. The findings are weak as exercising power illustrates an insecure person – not a strong person.


Power was defined as “having things your way” and leveraging others to get them to do what you want. Several items were identified. First, have control over resources important to others – money, equipment, information. Shouldn’t we share and effectively communicate resources with others?


Second, tell others they get rewards by helping and punished if they don’t. How about building strong relationships with others so they’ll want to help you? Third, have multiple options to achieve something. Don’t be devious or secretive with these options.


Fourth, make the first move because hesitation shows weakness. Numerous studies demonstrate second movers achieve more because they learned and improved upon first movers. Fifth, add antagonists to your team. Can’t we collaborate with others and seek win-win solutions?


Sixth, remove rivals. Groupthink doesn’t create long-term results. Seventh, don’t get diverted by items interfering with your goals. Prioritize and stay focused. Eighth, use a personal touch when communicating. Isn’t this just common courtesy when communicating?


Ninth, be persistent to wear down the opposition. Do you want to wear someone down or earn their respect through positive interactions? Tenth, have relationships with key people – even those you don’t like. Show humility when someone has a skill you lack (see President Lincoln and his Secretary of War).


Finally, have a compelling vision so others support you. A vision should be compelling because you are passionate about it, or others will see through this and not support you.


The author’s summary is you’ll achieve power by following these 11 power principles. Power may be briefly achieved; however, it doesn’t sustain. History demonstrates these failures (Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler). Power seems synonymous with bullying.


Those with true power never seek it (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ). They believed in something so strongly and were willing to die for it; and others chose to follow them. My power principles: share, communicate, collaborate, learn, earn respect, be genuine and kind, and believe in yourself – body, mind and spirit.

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