Improving your influence

The measure of a man is what he does with power, says Pittacus.
When you are aspiring to powers in corporate world, you need two things: power of the self and the power of moulding others. The latter is often called "influence". How much of it you possess and exercise on others?

Often we use the word magnetism for this quality. When someone exercises this power and influence on us we generalize, "She/he has a magnetic personality." In other words, we are saying that this person has the power and influence on one, and I can do anything for her/him."

The way I have put it may read that it is very simple. It is at personal level. For example, a young girl falling in love
with a boy. He exercises power and influence on her. It is as simple as that.

It can be intriguing, because power can be surprisingly complex. It can be enticing, because power can be seductive. But it can also inspire and uplift and exalt, because power can be used to help people accomplish marvellous things.

Didn't Lord Acton observe that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?

Others feel it is desirable or even essential for successful living. But power is not really good or bad; it is neutral. Power itself is not negative or positive, although our feelings about it may be.

Power is the potential to influence others for good or evil, to be a blessing or a curse.

When we come together, it is natural that we influence and are influenced by each other. Power is our ability to influence one another.

There are three options. First, perhaps this person has the capacity, authority, or ability to intimidate or bully people, to do something unpleasant or uncomfortable to other people.

Is this person powerful because he can hurt others in some way, or embarrass them, humiliate them, impose sanctions against them, fire them, or take something away from them?

If they are afraid that this powerful person can do something they don't like, they might comply just to avoid the problem. With fear as a source of this person's power, others might go along to get along.

Second option. This person might be influential with others because of what he can do for them. This person has the capacity to do something that other people want.

This person has power because they can provide things that other people want, in order to get what they want in return. This is different from the first kind of power. There is no threat or force involved.

Third option is different. The person you believe is powerful is someone others believe in, someone they honour, someone they respect.

They comply with this person's wishes because they want what he wants. Whether he is there or checking up on them or paying them does not matter. He believes in them and they believe in him! As a consequence, people
willingly and wholeheartedly give themselves to what he asks of them. This power has power with others, not over them!
Perhaps the reasons people choose to follow the person you are thinking about fall into more than one category. Perhaps the reasons people choose for following or listening or paying attention vary over time. The important thing is that you think about a real person and the possible reasons why they are powerful, why others choose to follow them.

- Contributed by Vaibhav Agarwal