All power has a source. If you are a person of faith like I am, you believe a power exists that is greater than you and me. Since there are various forms of power, in the context of leadership in business, I define power simply as the ability to make things happen. Each of us has been given a measure of that power, but most may not realize that this measure can be intentionally increased. Power is not finite — it can grow, but that growth is not automatic. If you want to learn some practical actions you can take to increase your power, keep reading.
This measure of power that you have in its raw form is called potential, also known as capacity. Potential is what houses your power. Allow me to put on an English teacher’s hat for a moment. The etymology of the word “potential” reveals to us that the word comes from the Latin word “potentia,” which means “power.” As such, power increases as your ability increases. Here are some ways that you can increase your power as a leader:
1. Become an expert by increasing your knowledge.
Knowledge, accompanied by skill, is what helps you solve problems for others, which puts you in an influential position. Knowledge is an investment in yourself that causes you to increase your capacity to make things happen. It is also what allows you to become an expert and an authority in your industry. Experts have authority. Authority gives you influence. Influence gives you power.
2. Maximize your current level of power.
Have you achieved all that you can achieve at your current level? If not, keep being faithful by practicing excellence in your work or your business until you have achieved mastery before moving on to the next challenge. You’ll know when your capacity to handle more power has maxed out when you reach a plateau or what you do no longer challenges you. A potted plant needs a bigger pot when it has outgrown its current one. Similarly, your capacity for power will be pushed to its limit at a certain level when you begin to feel stifled in your growth. You don’t need an increase of something that you are not currently fully utilizing.
3. Require more of yourself.
Stagnancy sets in when you don’t demand more of yourself. You can only increase your power by making room for it. Requiring more of yourself ensures that you’ll expand your capacity to receive the power you need for your next level. Consistently pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone also stretches your capacity to do more. What you once were unable to do, an increase of power enables you to do it.
4. Harness your influence over others positively.
Powerful leaders have the influence to impact, guide, encourage and sway others. How effective you are in doing these things will affect your measure of power. Misusing your power is a great indicator that you are not ready for more of it.
5. Exercise your power.
Remember earlier, when I said that power is the ability to make things happen? Well, you must be intentional in order to make things happen. Powerless people sit around and wait for things to happen; powerful people make things happen. Power only shows up when you make a demand on it. Whatever measure of power you currently have, use it. When that measure is exhausted, more will become available.
Power is necessary — without it, no one would ever get anything done in this world. The more you have, the more you can accomplish for the greater good of those you lead. With power comes responsibility, so as it increases, your character should also. What would you do with more power if you had it? Power for self-fulfillment is great, but power for the betterment of those you lead is even greater.