Using Power and Influence Wisely

In a recent coaching session with a CEO, we were discussing a challenge he was facing to advance the organization based on some critical decisions. He fully embraced the notion that with great power comes great responsibility and accepted it was his responsibility to move the organization forward. The acceptance part wasn’t the challenge, but making things happen was proving to be difficult. We began a constructive conversation on various types of power and influence and what it takes to be an effective and conscious leader.

As a leader, you are the one with the power. The power emanates from your title as well as from your budget authority, reporting relationships and span of control. It can also come from your ability to raise money, hire, create, and lead.  Power alone, however, doesn’t mean you can command respect and the admiration of those around you. These outcomes are a result of influence.

More often than not, leaders are the driving force in their organization and effective leaders don’t take this position lightly. On top of that, Conscious Leaders use their power for good, not just for themselves. They understand that wielding it to intimidate will make their employees disengaged or depart. Using power as a sledgehammer may be expedient, but it consistently proves to be ineffective in the long run.

As my client and I discussed, a Conscious Leader uses their power to affect CHANGE by empowering the people in the organization. They recognize this is done by setting clear expectations, ensuring people have the resources they need to succeed and ongoing communication and support.  In our meeting, we weren’t talking about change in the form of reorganization or restructuring, but rather about the kind of change that shifts industries, perspectives and experiences.  The change in how we, as human beings, don’t just operate from our intellect, but from a broader spectrum that includes our intuition and heart-centeredness. People are an ecosystem of mind, body and spirit that requires conscious equilibrium. When we lead from this space, we change everything.

Through this equilibrium leaders create a safe workplace when employees have a high level of trust. A critical element to enabling this equilibrium is having a leader who is willing to exhibit vulnerability; it’s counterintuitive but through vulnerability leaders gain even more power—it’s a cause and effect relationship. Conscious Leaders understand that when they are open and demonstrate vulnerability, others feel comfortable being authentic because the leader is approachable and present.  This creates a ripple effect as employees, in turn, empower others to lead, and follow, from a similar state of mind.

Conscious Leaders understand that these actions result in their inspiring employees and creating a positive workplace, which fosters a company culture based on innovation, resilience and a breakthrough in high performance.

Conscious leadership seeks to get to the root of our humanity, to make us better human beings who operate not just from our brains, but from a deeper place within us.

Conscious action: Before you start your day, take a long look at yourself in the mirror and decide who you want to be today. Define how you will use your power and influence toward the higher good for everyone you lead.