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In the book “How Women Rise: break the 12 habits holding you back from your next raise, promotion, or job” by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith, former Intel executive Ted Jenkins describes how there are four kinds of power in an organization and that “power is influence potential”.  We examine them here and suggest how you can put that power to work for you.

The power of expertise

Having a knowledgeable and capable workforce is vital to an organization’s survival. However, being an expert in a particular field does not ensure advancement within the organization, says Jenkins, because there are usually other issues at play. For example, if you focus singularly on a specific area of expertise, you may end up pigeon-holing yourself — becoming known for one thing and one thing only. The irony here is that you may become so good at your job that when you feel ready to move on to greater things within the organization, it may be difficult to find support. Put your expertise to work for you by doing your job well enough, says Jenkins, while building relationships and working to be visible. Importantly, don’t limit your view of yourself.  It’s not necessary to wait until you feel you have mastered all the skills of the next level before attempting to access it.

The power of connection

Developing your professional network is extremely important. Your connections can help you become noticed and known by those who have influence. Make full use of professional social media networking tools such as LinkedIn and join LinkedIn groups that relate to your fields of interest.  A good way to build connections within your organization is to move around in it, says Jenkins. Consider taking jobs in different fields and divisions and foster allies in your field or adjunct fields. Pay it forward too! Make sure you are a valuable resource for others and stay in touch.

The power of personal authority

Personal authority is “rooted in the confidence you inspire in others,” says Jenkins. Personal authority is not usually something we start out with in our careers, rather it’s something we can develop over time. The key thing is to be aware of it as a source of power and work to enhance it. People with strong personal authority appear confident and at ease with themselves. They own their presence, have a clear and well-thought-out message, and speak and listen intently, says Jenkins. They usually make excellent leaders as they value and inspire loyalty and trust. Personal authority can absolutely contribute to career progress so it’s important to factor it into the efforts we make to advance. How might you enhance your personal authority? What could you do better?

The power of position  

Positional power is often seen as the most obvious source of power within an organization.   When a person’s job encompasses considerable decision-making authority and a hefty title, clearly, that peson has achieved a position of power. However, it’s important to consider what go them there.  Jenkins asserts that often it is not simply the power of their connections, or their expertise, or their personal authority, but rather it is the sum of all three types of power. These three powers, together, says Jenkins, help us to build our personal brand in a manner that will open doors to a position of power.

Click for more about “How Women Rise: break the 12 habits holding you back from your next raise, promotion, or job”, by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith.

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