Owning your Power: Effective Dynamics in the Workplace (Part 1)

Business manager with employees in backgroundWith the unusual ability to bridge sales and execution teams, Bill quickly rose through the corporate ranks at a global company. When the time came to elevate his work to match his new SVP title, he found himself consumed by lower-level tasks in his old department.

Bill was afraid of giving up his familiar role—he was damn good at it. Once he understood his fear, he gave up micromanaging and entrusted others to fulfill his old job. When he learned to let go, he gained the greater vision to truly lead.

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A significant part of effective leadership is learning to relinquish control and trust the dynamic of the team you’ve built. Subsequently, one of the hardest parts about stepping into a new role is the daunting task of molding those relationships and that trust between colleagues so that you are able to focus on the bigger picture. Staying in tune with the attitudes and responses of those around you will help immensely in your quest to optimize your role as their leader.

Oftentimes, external validation from your peers is much subtler than you’d expect, making it hard to judge their perception of you as a leader. However, you can keep an eye out for cues in their behavior that can tell you the level of respect you command, and the subsequent power you hold.

For you, external expectations from your peers will shift, often without warning. People will assume you have the answers, and they will act on your words. Colleagues will attach themselves to you and look to you for guidance. These are all natural, good things, assuming you can notice the change and adapt appropriately. For most executives, adapting is easy—once they grow conscious of the need.

The more power you have, the greater impact your actions make, so be mindful of how you relate to others with this new-found influence. If you’re looking for an end-all be-all approach to leadership, you’re wasting your time. Flexibility in how you respond to people and situations will quite suddenly become the most important tool in your arsenal when you are given heightened responsibility.