Owning your Power: Effective Dynamics in the Workplace (Part 2)

Business woman working on laptop computer at officeLast week we examined the idea of relinquishing power and trusting others. It’s important that that as a manager, the greatest thing you can do is to establish a working relationship built on respect. It’s not letting go when you relinquish power, it’s allowing others the opportunity and space to shine. Remember that sometimes, a lighter touch will go further with your colleagues. Instead of demanding something, ask for it. Instead of directing a discussion, simply offer your opinion. Make an extra effort to express your appreciation to those around you. In other situations, you will need to assert your position with full intentionality, and accept the fact that not everyone will be content with your decision.

The process of settling into this new dynamic with your colleagues is rarely comfortable. If you feel like a fraud, don’t worry: you’re not. The “impostor syndrome” is a well-documented and common phenomenon where high-achievers fear being “found out” as something less. Your colleagues can see your strengths, even if you can’t. There’s a reason why you’ve gotten to where you are. It might feel uncomfortable or unnatural at first, but everything will fall into place once you’ve recognized and accepted your power. The challenge now is to harness your power constructively.

Power isn’t easy. Push too hard, and you’re overbearing. Be too chummy, and people will whisper that you’re not up to task. There is no neutral: get used to the reality that everything you do will be scrutinized and interpreted for better or worse…or for worse and worse.

Every leader attains more power through his or her journey, but not all recognize it immediately. When you do, you’ll need to reconcile the gap between your self-perception and your rightful role. Once you’ve internalized your power, it’s simply a matter of making a few small shifts to start seeing seismic results.