Who’s got the power?

Can you spot who’s got the power?

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to have all the power? Maybe it’s at work, socially or in sports situations. Others seem to defer to them, worry about what they will think, allow them to dictate the mood in any setting and take care over what they say to them.

How does that happen? These “powerful” people just seem to have authority and it’s hard to see where it comes from.

How do powerful people get the power?

I’ve been observing these people who seem to have personal power (not necessarily the Tony Robbins kind) to see if I can work out the source of this power and I’ve started to notice some things that powerful people seem to have in common. I have outlined these below.

1. Powerful people have ideas and opinions

These powerful people seem to have ideas and opinions and are not afraid to express them. This means that others have to consider what they say and come up with ideas of their own if they want to wrest the power away for themselves.

Here’s an example. After no party had an overall majority of the votes in the 2010 UK elections a coalition government was formed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, became the Prime Minister because his party had more votes than the Liberal Democrats, whose leader, Nick Clegg, became Deputy Prime Minister.

Almost everytime they appear together in public David Cameron talks constantly to demonstrate that he is the one with all the ideas (and the power) and that Nick Clegg is the junior partner. This is probably done by Cameron for the benefit of the British people to let them see how powerful a leader he is.

2. Powerful people have a vision

People with personal power usually have a clear idea about what they want. This is what enables them to have such strong ideas and opinions as outlined above. Others who have less strong ideas about where they want to get to in any situation will natuarally find themselves overwhelmed by the person who can articulate what it is that they want. Someone who challenges ideas had better have a clear vision of their own or they will be overwhelmed.

3. Powerful people respond to challenges

By challenges here, I mean that someone has challenged the person in some way. Challenges can take many forms, from direct challenge of ideas to offhand remarks. People with natural power tend to respond to those challenges ensuring they have the last word on any subject. The vision outlined above is one reason why they respond – they know what they want and they won’t accept anything that makes it less likely that they will get it.

I’m still thinking about other things that give people power in various situations and I’ll add more to the short list above over time. This type of personal power fascinates me and I’d be pleased to hear any thoughts you have about it.

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