Power is a popular word these days. We take power walks, eat power bars, participate in power plays or power struggles. Often though, I meet individuals who feel powerless over a particular situation or even uncomfortable with the term.
For example, Jenny is the lead assistant on a team of five in a very busy engineering firm. Most of the supervisors are introverted and assignments are delegated with minimal input. In the past, she approached a few engineers individually and asked if they could provide more detail, but nothing changed. When a newer team member, Denise, shows up asking for additional clarity, Jenny, responds with, “Well, there’s nothing we can do. That’s just how it works around here.” “Really? I see you as having so much power and influence within this office,” replies Denise. “Oh, I’m not powerful,” Jenny quickly retorts.
Women especially need to become comfortable with the word, power. We need to focus on how power gives us the ability to make things happen.
Being powerful doesn’t mean you’re brazen, pushy or trying to control anyone or anything. It simply means you stop focusing on how little power you have in a situation, and instead tap into your talent and determination to influence others to create better outcomes. Start using your skills to make your office or home better for everyone.
For example, Jenny, rather than owning there’s nothing she can do, could own her power and take a risk to make changes. She could keep a time log of how often she and colleagues have to back-track to gather enough details to move forward on an assignment. She could create a slip that gets stapled to each assignment or attached in an email that has checked boxes for how a project should look, time frame, background, etc. that the engineers fill in to determine specific needs. She could set up a meeting and speak to the group as a whole, present her findings and brainstorm solutions. She could power up and lead her team and her firm to a productive solution. That is powerful.
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