In the past few months there has been significant commentary about the new found power of the Latino community throughout the nation. The election made it clear that Latinos as a whole have substantial power to use in shaping the political landscape of our nation. Add this to our $1.2 Trillion in spending power and it is no surprise we are being courted by political and corporate leaders alike. But what about your personal power? Do you know how to leverage your personal power to achieve results in your career or your community? Do you know where your greatest power rests? Does the idea of having power scare you?
There are actually 7 sources of power to leverage in your work life. During my next four posts, I want to walk you through each source of power with tips and suggestions to support your professional goals in 2013. My hope is to make the year ahead one that allows you the opportunity to leverage your strengths and claim your power.
The seven sources of power are based on research conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership which interviewed executives who attended their signature leadership development program. They found seven sources of power are derived from: position, charisma, relationships, information, expertise, consequence or punishment, and reward. When executives were asked which of these are the most important to use in their careers, an emphasis on relationships, information and expertise emerged.
Let’s look at two of these today: relationships and information. The ability to form strong relationships is a key element of career success because work gets done with and through others. Your colleagues and network of contacts can make introductions to key resources, they can support your work or they can alert you if there are unforeseen challenges. Can this make you powerful? Absolutely! The good news is that Latinas are masterful at cultivating relationships that are both informal and formal and so this is one kind of power that can be easy for us to claim. But like many executives we have to make time to invest in cultivating those relationships. Think about your network and begin identifying those individuals that you have not had enough time to get to know or haven’t seen recently and who might be able to help you with your current projects. Make the time to talk about your work and what success looks like for you. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you might need –an introduction, an idea, or advice. Great relationships in business are reciprocal. Build on your relationships keeping in touch with your colleagues and by supporting them, too.
It is not a surprise that information is the other source of power executives emphasized. One of the ways to build on relationships also involves exchanging information. Access to key information makes you extremely valuable in your network. When you demonstrate knowledge on key issues, you can become the “go to” person on a team. Information is a source of power because what we know can be the difference between forming the right approach on a project or not. It can be the difference between staying competitive or not. And yes, the act of not disclosing what you know can powerful, too. The key about claiming your power– with relationships and information– is to stay aware of what you want to achieve and use your power wisely and ethically.