If there were any logic to our language, power could be a dirty word.
Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer posits that the idea of power goes
against most people’s idea that the world is a just and fair place. “It
violates their basic belief that people can get ahead just on the basis
of their hard work and good effort,” he says.
Even if the vast
majority of people prefer not to acknowledge the presence of power in
the workplace, Pfeffer says it’s as unavoidable as air or water in a
recent segment he filmed for Insights by Stanford Business.
power isn’t as simple as it used to be. The study that suggested
striking a confident pose to signal a significant hormonal shift that
had a positive effect on negotiation and closing a deal was recently
cast in doubt. A study from the University of Zurich that tried to
duplicate the previous results on a much bigger scale didn’t boost
testosterone and reduce cortisol, which would enhance power.
not. Pfeffer offers five other strategies for pumping up your power
quotient at work, even if you’re slouching in your chair.
1. Find The Most Significant Player
is a person you could easily overlook. According to Pfeffer,
“Oftentimes, it’s an assistant or a secretary or people who aren’t
necessarily that high up in the organization chart.” In order to make
yourself more powerful, you need to know who these people are and what
Gatekeepers and caretakers may be ordering gifts and
booking travel for executives, but they’re also privy to high-level
intelligence and scheduling meetings, the kind of influence that affects
those at the top of the org chart. As one executive assistant at NBC
Universal says, “People know I know everything.”
2. Make A Strong Connection
a power map in hand, it’s time to cozy up to the right players who can
support your career goals. In addition to cultivating relationships with
mentors and advocates, the person with their finger on the pulse of the
organization is in a position to help you if you help them.
“Strengthening a social connection with a power player is necessary to ramp up your own potential power.”
way to do this is to build a relationship with them. Next to power,
there’s nothing like uttering the word networking to make a working
stiff’s skin crawl. But Pfeffer maintains that strengthening a social
connection with a power player is necessary to ramp up your own
3. Be A Helper
takes time. In the workplace, as at networking events, success doesn’t
come from a one-and-done approach. The best way to negotiate is to make
yourself available to help. Pfeffer recommends taking care of tasks that
make those individuals’ lives easier.
Or, you could just do what
the best networkers do and facilitate an introduction that could help
your influencer. It also doesn’t hurt to get beyond the work environment
and talk about personal interests.
Read more at Fast Company.