5 ways to boost your power
Adopt a bias for action
(Read web version.)
To have fulfilling lives, we need the support of others. This post outlines five approaches to help secure that engagement. I draw upon insights from the book 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.
1. Say less
One of the most important aspects of verbal communication is to keep it brief and measured. The principle reasons are that:
We are more convincing.
We appear more powerful.
We are less likely to say something we regret and damage our reputation.
A manager I knew had a somewhat unsettling interview technique. He would ask a question. Once the interviewee had answered the question the manager would hold his silence. The unaware interviewee would feel obliged to fill the void, say too much and dig a whole for themselves.
2. Protect your reputation
Perception precedes reality. - Andy Warhol
If you don't have a good reputation, it will be difficult to have influence. People are more likely to trust and follow someone who has a good reputation. We should work hard to establish then maintain it. If your reputation is damaged then take action to repair it, e.g. by associating yourself with those you and others respect.
3. Take action
In the moment it can be tempting to prove a point through argument, but this rarely has a positive long term impact. Indeed, you may inadvertently offend. Also, people typically revert to their prior viewpoint. It is far better to demonstrate your ideas through considered action. This is far more meaningful and does not cause others to be defensive. Choose your battles carefully. When appropriate, seek forgiveness, not permission.
4. Focus efforts
We face a multitude of potential distractions, all manner of things to draw our attention. The way we spend our minutes, hours, days and weeks translates into how we spend our lives. For personal satisfaction, we should be intentional how we spend our time. We achieve this via greater self-awareness and concentrated forms of action. It is best to find a rich mine and mine it deeply, rather than flitting from one to another. Power exists in concentrated forms. In organisations, a small group have disproportionate influence (not always those with the titles). It is fruitful to find a patron from this group to assist you.
5. Recreate yourself
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. - Bronnie Ware (top regret of people facing death).
Beyond the characteristics we inherit from our parents and the influence of the environment we grow up in, we have ultimate control over our destiny. Shaping our identities is one of the great joys in life for those who accept the responsibility.
The steps to self-creation involve:
Awareness and control your appearance and emotions.
Establish a memorable character, one that stands out from the crowd. You should court attention over time, managing tempo and timing.
Learn to play many roles, adapting to whatever the situation requires.
Diversify your skillset and means of financial support. Become Anti-fragile - a term coined by Nassim Taleb to describe systems and people who thrive on failure and criticism.
48 Laws of power (Animated) by Robert Greene
Make Time blog by Phil Martin
This post shared five approaches to help us boost our personal power. Next Sunday’s post proposes ways to reduce the number of meetings we attend and make those that we do engaging.
Until next Sunday, think about how you would recreate yourself and diversify your skillset.