Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Leadership Potential: How Do You Wield Power?

Any relatively ambitious person starting a new job has thought it.

How do I move up and to the right?
Where is the ladder and how do I climb it? What’s waiting for me at the top?
Where is the glass ceiling to break here?
What must I do to crush it at this job?
How do I gain power and influence here?

They’re questions everyone asks - at least internally. The last one is actually the leadership question. The answer is counter-intuitive and the person who “gets it” is the one to invest in development.

We gain power and influence when we begin enabling others to act on their own initiative. In other words, you get it when you’re secure enough to give it away.

This is counter-intuitive for most. It takes a secure person to allow others to act. Someone else to take credit. Kudos to a colleague.

Sure. There will be a few jerks who will take advantage of that. Drop and avoid the jerks as much as you can.
But there will always be jerks.

The generosity of empowering others also empowers you. That’s the magic of it. That’s how power works. The people who get a little power, a little authority, and wield it like a medieval war hammer aren’t leading. They’re insecure and doing damage to people and to the organization.

So who do we develop? Who do we invest in?

Start with a person who prioritizes relationships over politics and collaboration over competition.

They are already halfway there.