Opinions Tue, 5 Apr 2016

3 ways of becoming a person of power and influence at the work place

Everyone desires to be powerful. A fact check at the workplace indicates that nobody wants to be subordinate. All of us want to be in the top 2% of the movers and shakers of their industry. In short, they want power - the central force around which creation takes place.

One observation is that everyone can generate a force of power around him/herself no matter where s/he is in the hierarchy of the industry. It doesn’t matter the nature of the industry. You can benefit from the insider power if you would let it out by acting right.

The things we see around us are manifestations of that inside power put to use by others.

The world has been deceived to see power as only emanating from an election. And that one gets power when s/he is elected either by an electoral college or by the people of a nation. Or at the industry level we only respect those appointed into top positions. We all have a malicious idea about power.

However, the truth is that power has been entrusted to every soul on this planet. It has been deposited in all of us. But the caveat is that while some are clueless about their gift, others have gained enormously from putting into good use their deposit of power.

In this piece, I will share with you some simple steps that when followed would transform your inactive power into one of a powerful force in your industry.

1#: Personal philosophy:

What’s your personal philosophy? What are the beliefs you hold close to your breast? Or should I say chest? What would your boss or co-workers remember you for in your absence? Personal philosophy or belief is the idea or set of ideas that rule your actions, in-actions and interactions in the course of the day. It dictates, and guides your response to situations.

Are you firm, incorruptible, disciplinarian, honest, loyal, and decisive in whatever you do? What about a person of integrity? Do you tell others “let’s sit down” while you stand up?

Know: your personal belief acts as a rope on which others climb to reach you when they need that special person to do something worthwhile. Your boss will connect to you if s/he is convinced of your personal philosophy. If s/he knows you’re the right person to get the stuffs done.

2#: Appearance:

In this world, your appearance weighs a million pounds while your speech weighs just a hundred pounds. The way people relate to you is primarily a consequence of your appearance. How do you look in a mirror? How do you appear to your workplace? Do you look even or rugged in your dress? Whatever the industry you find yourself always aim to dress sharp and tact.

Endeavor to be at your best in your look. Your clothes should be evenly pressed, hair well-trimmed, nails cleanly cut and shoe silkily polished. You attract eyes towards you when you appear sharp in your outfit. They don’t tell you, however, people will always want to connect to others who are cleaner and sharper in their appearance. And to do this, you have to raise your appearance consciousness level to an all-time high.

Your appearance should matter wherever you are going. There’s this strategy I learned whilst growing up and for many years, this has proven useful. Whenever I have to attend a program say a day or two, I simulate my appearance the night before the day in a mirror to save myself from any surprises. I will dress and take to the mirror to judge my look -- in a kind of mirror judging mood.

This attitude became my past time whilst I was living in Monrovia, Liberia. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are if your appearance counts for nothing.

Or perhaps if your appearance does not match the abundance of your intelligence – it amounts to nothing. People may have a flight-like interest in you if you don’t develop the interest in your appearance. Liberians value how you look no matter how meaner you are. They are not interested in flamboyant appearance rather a cleaner and sharper one. I learned to adapt to fit into this new situation anywhere I found myself. Learn to let your appearance matter to you.

3#: Respect Transition:

I can say a lot on this point because I have, since taking up leadership positions from High school days to present, respected and lived by the law of transition. I detest ‘old boyism’ that has engulfed the leaders of our region.

Nobody wants to leave office once taken. Everybody wants us to believe that it’s good to be in leadership position for long.

These people cite so many funny stories and history lessons sometimes to their own disappointment. Then suddenly they begin to lose that power they have grown accustomed to holding unto.

Nothing in this world is built to last. All the things around us may survive some centuries, but not eternity.

The law of transition states that at any given time one should not seek to remain in one position for long without regard for the need of future generation to also lead.

In other words, one has to give the opportunity to others to lead not as of privilege but as of right because everyone has the right to lead though not everyone has the gifts of a good leader.

Like the elevator speech metaphor, leadership is momentary. No one stays in office for eternity. Brevity is the word. Anyone who thinks about longevity is delusional and sick. Respecting transition has to do with learning to give others the opportunity to lead and help them to do so without impediment.

It has, more to do with weaning yourself from the drunk effect power generates.

I have aimed not to be in a leadership position for more than a year. I know people will say you cannot get a lot done in a year. Well, I have done this severally and it’s been fantastic. So long as my orientation remains intact, I aim at pulling off the best spectacle no matter the period.

There are times people who supposedly have handed over a leadership mantle would lurk in the shadow to decide who takes over from them. And the disappointment is that they lurk in the shadow for so long that they begin to lose credibility for what they do. My advice to those in this situation is for them to get out if they’re out.

What’s the need in remaining there when you are out of the scene? Reputation is wealthier than riches. And you will create a most lasting impression when you learn the power of transition.

In whatever you set out to do, remember the power of brevity. We tend to remember those persons in our lives who have had a flashlight-like impression on us -- those who came to our lives for a brief moment. They wield so much influence than those who’ve stayed for long.

So much power would be placed at your disposal if you would be appearance-conscious, act out your personal philosophy and would respect transition. If you keep to these three points, internalize them and put them to use, so much power would be made available to you.

Remember: the power is already inside of you. Act it out.

Columnist: Austin Brako-Powers