Jeffrey Pfeffer explores the most basic and sought after questions on power-why some people have it and others don’t. The book Power (2010) is an exceptional work in career literature offering different approaches and positive reasons to control and own power in the path to success. It is the ultimate guide for anyone looking forward to establishing a career, upgrading their profession or wanting to try their hand at politics. It’s not wrong for wanting to be in a position of power because it requires courage and relentless effort to be an influencer.
Following the rules always won’t make you powerful or productive. Sometimes it’s disheartening to realise that performance and promotion are not complementary. The expectation of a reward from your boss will exhort you to run an extra mile, but only at the finish line do you see your extra efforts as futile. It’s a collective misconception that supremacy and power are only reserved for people who deserve them. Most of us are caught in the web of what psychologist Melvin Lerner termed as the just-world hypothesis, believing that the world is impartial and unbiased. Sometimes, we often accuse the project leader for grabbing all the appreciation, because he used an unfair means to arrive at the optimum. In such situations, we fail to learn from their achievement and instead criticise them for the unjust method employed. This attitude will pull you down and narrow your horizons.
A good leader balances both his strengths and weaknesses. Steve Jobs once said “Strengths and weaknesses are the same sides of the coin. A strength in one situation is a weakness in another, yet often the person can’t switch gears.” Therefore it’s important to transform your weak spots into your strong suits. You will be charmed and awe struck with the power and authority exercised by a President and may think: “That human was crafted for this job” but the popular words, ‘leaders are made, and not born’ is true and meaningful. Anyone can be a leader, the secret is to rediscover your real self and be confident in your potentiality to bring a change. It’s also important to settle in the right area if you want to enjoy a position of power.
Never be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be embarrassed to ask help from powerful people and make your presence felt, because it might be your golden chance to succeed. It is said, give respect and take respect. Consider respecting others and helping them during turbulent situations as a moral obligation, because the good deeds done will be reciprocated. For example, it was the mutual respect shared between the Democrat Willie Brown who was in the California Assembly for 16 years and the Republican legislators that led to a consensus in several legislative measures.
Confidence is the most beautiful attire that you can wear. The way you carry yourself has a lasting influence on the people around you. All successful people speak with such certainty and assurance, that everything they speak and perform exudes a powerful aura. Internalise and think it over before you express, as this makes you competent and confident. At the 2001 California Medical Association, Albin Avgher, PhD, presented a theory of human communication. His speech challenges and defies various theories and conventions practised by the doctors and lawyers present in the audience. Nevertheless everyone listened to his speech under the assumption that the speaker is an eminent personality, but only to be revealed his true identity was that of a comedian named Charlie Varon. It is mandatory to build a good reputation for yourself and be careful enough to not jump to conclusions immediately, as judgements passed could be misleading and fatal.
Do failures disappoint you? On the road to success failures are bound to happen. “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm,” said Winston Churchill. So be strong and believe in yourself. Confront your failures with confidence and power, then success is all yours!
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