Have you ever wondered what truly defines Power in the corporate world?
Power is a concept often misunderstood, typically envisioned as a trait of the solo superhero - the super intelligent, the high achiever, the decisive leader. But let's pause and reconsider this traditional view.
What if real Power comes not from personal achievements but from the influence and respect granted by those around us?
Dacher Keltner, in his insightful book "The Power Paradox," explains it beautifully: “Power is given, not grabbed. It is a gift given by groups to individuals who act in the collective judgment and trust bestowed by colleagues and subordinates.”
True Leadership: Beyond Personal Achievements
In a corporate setting, this translates to leaders gaining Power and influence when they are trusted and respected by their teams rather than through personal achievements, intimidation, or coercion.
Detrimental Alpha Leader Behaviors that could lead to their downfall:
Silencing Others: Creating a climate of fear by stifling open dialogue leads to secrecy and mistrust.
Overexertion: Pushing the team beyond its limits, stifling creativity, and precipitating unnecessary stress.
Hypercriticism: Focusing excessively on faults, thereby undermining morale and effort.
Unattainable Goals: Demanding the impossible without valuing past achievements, disrupting work-life balance.
Ignoring Feedback: Disregarding diverse opinions and warnings, resulting in unrealistic decisions.
Rigid Approaches: Using a strong-handed style that shuts down disagreements and intimidates people
Embracing Influential Traits:
Focusing on team goals
Being open to others’ ideas
Instilling calm during a crisis
Directing resources to help the organization
When combined with empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence, and nuanced social communication, leaders are admired for their contributions rather than their titles. That's the essence of enduring Power.
A Word of Caution
Be mindful, though; Power can be fleeting. According to Keltner, one simple thing can destroy all that you have built: gossip. When poor alpha behaviors become widely known, they can tarnish a leader's reputation, making them a subject of negative gossip and potentially leading to a loss of respect and authority.
Gossip reshapes status and power structures.
Understanding these dynamics is key to building a positive reputation, fostering cooperation, and becoming more influential.
What’s your understanding of Power? Are you enhancing your team's strength, or could your approach undermine your influence?
If you’re not sure, ask around, or you can just wait for your people to promote or demote you as a group.
Want to change that? Reach out.
I work with assertive - brilliant, driven, and formidable leaders who bring enormous growth to the organization but need to understand the emotional landscape of leadership better.
That's when they call me.
I help transform these formidable people into Empathic Alpha Leaders, where strength meets understanding, and decisiveness pairs with empathy.
Start your journey to empathic leadership today.
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