Your personal power is your ability to influence others and your surroundings.
We all have personal power–the ability to impact the world we live in– albeit in different degrees. Clearly, the more personal power you have, the greater your influence. So, where does personal power come from?
- Network Power
- Interpersonal Power
- Technical/Expert Power
- Image Power
- Formal Power
- Resource Power
- Physical Power
- Attributes Power
- Knowledge Power
- Moral Power
In addition, there are ways to increase each of these sources of power, as well as ways to leverage each one so you can get the most out of it. Why would you want to increase and leverage your personal power?
Because the more powerful you are, the easier it is for you to realize your full potential and achieve your goals, whether those goals involve achieving financial security, traveling, helping others, impacting the world with your ideas and creating a legacy, and so on.
Below you’ll find an explanation of the ten sources of personal power I’ve identified, as well as five ways to increase each one. That will give you a total of 50 ways to increase your personal power.
1. Network Power
Your network power is who you know. Knowing the right people can vastly increase your sphere of influence. You may have heard the saying that your network is your net worth. This is because other people can do all of the following for you:
- Offer valuable advice;
- Give you important information which keeps you “in the loop”;
- Open your eyes to new opportunities;
- Help you kick start or accelerate your journey toward the achievement of your goals;
- Find new clients, partners with complimentary skills, or potential investors;
- Introduce you to others who may be in a position to help you; and so on.
Here are five ways to increase your network power:
- Create a personal networking plan.
- Work on your networking skills. You can read books on networking, attend seminars, and/or do research online.
- Write down your goals and identify who you need to know in order to achieve those goals. Then, get to work on finding ways to meet those people.
- Target networking opportunities that best fit your needs and personality.
- Position yourself as a resource to others.
In order to increase your personal power, you have to make the right friends and surround yourself with the people who will help you to achieve what you want.
2. Interpersonal Power
Your interpersonal power is your ability to get along with and influence others. It’s related to your “likeability” index. Obviously, the more likeable you are, the more interpersonal power you have. In addition, the more persuasive you are, the greater your interpersonal power.
Here are five ways to increase your interpersonal power:
- Work on becoming more charismatic.
- Work on becoming more conscientious.
- Work on your communication skills.
- Work on improving your nonverbal communication.
- Acquire negotiation and conflict resolution skills.
The more interpersonal power you have, the more you’ll be able to get others to act in the ways you want them to.
3. Expert Power
Expert power comes from your technical abilities, skills, competence, and experience at your job, ventures, the roles that you play, and so on. If you have some particular skill or expertise that others value, then you will have power over the people who want or need that particular expertise.
Here are five ways to increase your expert power:
- Hone your skills and work to perfect your craft.
- Keep up with changes in your career/industry/area of expertise.
- Become a thought leader in your area of expertise. One way to do this is to get published in respected journals.
- Compete for awards and other forms of recognition that are highly visible to others.
- Teach your skills to others, whether it’s by blogging, creating courses or tutorials, writing a book, or getting a teaching position at a school or college.
People trust those with expert power, defer to their opinions, and believe that they have the wisdom to stir them in the right direction when it comes to their area of expertise. Your expert power will allow you to command respect and ask for more money for your services.
4. Image Power
Your image power is how much power others perceive you have, whether that perception is based on truth or not. Although one can argue that image is superficial, it’s powerful. The world judges people not for who they are, but for who they seem to be.
As the 17th century Spanish Jesuit scholar Baltasar Gracian says in The Art of Worldly Wisdom:
- “Do, but also seem”.
- “Have merit, but know how to present yourself.”
And if you haven’t achieved much yet, you can make others think that you have by the way in which you present yourself.
Here are five ways to increase your image power:
- Take control of your image – decide how you want others to see you and then craft your image so that they start seeing you that way.
- Build your personal brand and reputation.
- Look the part.
- Work on your game face – even if things are not going the way you want them to, other people don’t need to be made aware of this fact.
- Curate carefully what you post on social media.
The perception of power is critical.
5. Official Power
Your official power is the power that comes from your role and level within an organizational hierarchy, as well as within key projects and committees. It’s the authority that comes inherent in a job title and role.
Here are five ways to increase your official power:
- Actively seek to get a promotion at work;
- Ask to be made the Project Manager of any project that you’re working on with others;
- Look for ways to be made leader of any committees you’ve been assigned to;
- Run for the presidency of any group that you belong to, whether it’s a Gardening Club, your city’s Chamber of Commerce, or your Rotary Club.
- Run for public office.
This is the traditional form of power. Although official power may be difficult to acquire, once you have it you’ll be able to exert power over others in the form of rewards, punishment, and asset allocation.
6. Resource Power
Resource power is the extent to which you get your personal power from the resources that you control. Resource power can come from access to money, property, information, tools and equipment, and other assets which can help you to achieve your goals.
Here are five ways to increase your resource power:
- Look for ways to acquire more resources.
- Increase your earning potential.
- Learn how to get a better return on your investment on the resources at your disposal.
- If you have few assets at your disposal, learn to be more resourceful.
- Look for ways to get others to allow you to use their resources.
The more resources you have at your disposal, the more powerful you are.
7. Physical Power
Physical power is the extent to which your personal power comes from your physical characteristics. Like it or not, this aspect remains potent. Look at the following:
- Attractive people are more likely to be employed;
- They earn more;
- It’s more likely that they’ll be approved for loans;
- They’re perceived as being more competent;
- They’re thought of as being more trustworthy; and
- They marry attractive and highly educated people.
Fortunately, there are ways to increase your physical power, even if you didn’t win the genetic lottery when it comes to good looks. Here are five ways to increase your physical power:
- Eat well and exercise so that you look healthy and fit.
- Be well groomed.
- Make the most of your looks – wear clothes that flatter your shape and accentuate your best parts (and minimize the not-so-great-ones).
- Be energetic – people who exude confidence, joy, and enthusiasm are highly attractive.
- Project strength by the way in which you carry yourself.
Like any other source of power, physical power can be increased.
8. Attribute Power
Your attribute power refers to personal characteristics which make you more powerful, such as your intellect, grit, confidence, determination, and resilience. Look at the following and ask yourself which person is more likely to get support from others when they’re striving to achieve a goal:
- Someone who has shown grit and resilience in the past.
- Someone who gives up easily and has a tendency to leave things half-done.
Obviously, the first person is going to get more support from others—whether it’s financial support, encouragement, and so on. Also, look at the following:
- People are more likely to back a confident person than they are to back a person with low self-esteem.
- People are more likely to want to help those whom they perceive to be smart and talented.
Here are five ways to increase your attribute power:
- Create a personal development plan.
- Ask yourself what your goals are and what attributes you need to achieve those goals.
- Read personal development books and blogs.
- Follow Benjamin Franklin’s lead and develop your character.
- Develop positive habits and drop negative habits.
Being self-assured, tenacious, and determined, and having positive habits, can make you very powerful.
9. Knowledge/Education Power
Knowledge and education power come from your level of education and the quality of the educational institutions that you attended. Your educational credentials can open many doors for you. In addition, people tend to respect those who have a good education.
Here are five ways to increase your knowledge/education power:
- Go back to school and get an advanced degree.
- Enroll at Harvard’s Extension School or take continuing education programs.
- Get certified in an area that will help you in your field.
- Find other ways to show that you’re committed to lifelong learning.
- Create a portfolio showcasing your knowledge and skills.
Knowledge and education are power.
10. Moral Power
Your moral power is derived from your perceived moral stature. It affects how you’re perceived, as well as your ability to persuade and affect the actions of others. In essence, moral power is your ability to convince others that what you’re asking them to do is morally just.
Here are five ways to increase your moral power:
- Start a nonprofit.
- Build a reputation as someone who has strong values and lives up to those values.
- Champion a worthy cause.
- Donate money to charities.
Moral power is often not given its proper due, but it’s an important factor in social life.
How much power do you have in each of the ten power sources explained above? Apply the 50 ways to increase your personal power that I’ve shared with you in this post, and become unstoppable. Always remember to use your power wisely and for the good of yourself and others.
Live your best life by increasing your personal power.