Yesterday I participated in a chat about leadership over on Twitter hosted by Lisa Petrilli and Steve Woodruff. The topic was power and the intent was to discuss the ideas of Jeff Pfeffer from his new book Power: Why some people have it and others don’t. There were so many people participating in the chat that I personally can’t call it a conversation, but suffice to say the leader’s use of power to get things done was overwhelmingly viewed to be undesirable. I understand what folks were trying to say in quick-fire bursts of 140 characters or less, but I was frustrated.
Power is not a four letter word. Like it or not, power is the heart of leadership. No achievement or failure of any significance has ever been or ever will be accomplished void of power.
As I have written here before, your beliefs about power differentiate your behavior and character as a leader. What are you willing to do to get power? What are you willing to do to keep it? Do you use your power to serve yourself and your inner circle, or do you use your power to serve others regardless of what they think of you? Do you treat those that have no power and authority differently than you treat those that do?
Give me a week to watch what you say and do at work as you interact with your boss, your direct reports, and your peers, and I can tell you exactly what you believe about power. Your words and actions will manifest your beliefs and assumptions independent of your level of awareness of your power paradigm.
Beyond what you think about power, your words and actions toward others will also reveal your feelings about them and yourself. Is your leadership primarily about your personal passions and insecurities, or is it about something bigger and better than yourself?
Power is the heart of leadership. Is yours an opaque and selfish heart, or is yours an open one, where the people you’ve been given the privilege to lead are invited to examine, challenge, improve, and share a purpose worthy of everyone’s highest contribution and sacrifice?
About the Author: Bret L. Simmons
Sites That Link to this Post
- LeaderLab » LeaderLab on Weekly Leader | November 4, 2010