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Power Play (Part Three of Three)

It was later one evening that a friend and I continued a discussion we had on forms of power. After digging in deep on aspects of positional power, our talk went on to address the personal side. It was amazing what we discovered.

We found that "Personal Power" is that power (or influence) which is exercised by virtue of a personal ability, experience or relation to others. It compliments positional power but is not dependent on it to be exercised. Its influence is based on how others view us. The interesting aspect of this is that, just like positional power, it too has different forms. It is expressed as expert, talent and reference power. Here's what we shook out:

1) Expert Power is the ability to influence other people because of specialized knowledge and gained ability. It differs from talent power in that it is more dependent on experience or background. Credibility and believability limit its effects and its influence is more long lasting.

Examples of expert power are background, track records, know how, and developed skill.

2) Talent Power is the ability to influence others because of the ability to do something. Its effect is dependant on the results one obtains and repeatability.

Examples of talent power are ability, innate skill, competence, proficiency, aptitude, fitness and habit.

3) Reference Power is the ability to influence other people due to their inner references. This can be best illustrated as an internal check list of what is found personally desirable and undesirable to that person. This checklist affects a person's desires to identify personally and positively (or negatively) with another person. When positive, it is derived from charisma and interpersonal identification. When negative, it is represented as contempt and repulsion. Its effect is more long lasting and is dependent on interpersonal attractiveness, in all its forms.

Examples of reference power are charisma, attraction, rapport, admiration and respect; on the negative side, distraction or repulsion.

Personal power shows a down side when it initially influences people to place others in positions of authority, despite their true ability to use that position effectively.

The upside of personal power is its longevity. Once established, it is extremely portable and tends to increase in its potential the more it is exercised. It also has a strong tendency toward opening the door for positional power to flow. Hence the comment in the previous paragraph.

To Review:

  1. Recognize and list the power forms you use most in your dealings with people.
  2. Recognize and list the power forms that others most likely use to influence you.
  3. Ask yourself which other power forms would work better for you & which ones need to be tapered.
  4. Start to focus and shift your use of power toward the longer lasting forms.
  5. Keep track of the changes you see caused by your shifts.

Have a Bodacious Week!

Coach John S. Nagy is CEO and Lead Business Coach for Coaching for Success. Inc., a Business Coaching Service specifically designed for top level decision makers dedicated to peak performance in all facets of their activities. Hes hired to focus them continuously in activities that bring higher returns on their resource use. His programs are for the seriously committed. This means having his clients work "ON" their businesses, not just "IN" it. Hes a published author and a multi-degree professional with a nationwide client base. Coach Nagy can be reached through his E-mail address at his website at http://www.coach.net and by calling 813-949-0718.
Copyright 2000 John S. Nagy

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