True power is collaborating with and influencing others to achieve results in meaningful ways without overusing role-based authority or command and control behavior.

For many reasons, leaders often wield power based on status and hierarchy. This is not authentic power. It is more like artificial force, and is ineffective in the long-run.

True power begins with mindful attention, the power to live, work, and lead intentionally. Attention management is the practice of being present, resisting distractions, navigating situations, and staying focused throughout the day.

True power requires honesty and a sincere commitment to reality. Leaders own their truth and are open to learning and changing their mind. They are comfortable saying I don’t know and I was wrong. They have humility and integrity.

Natural power sources enable leaders to guide activities and achieve results in ways that establish respect, build trust, and empower others to do their best work. True power is a function of:

  • Principle is a deep commitment to demonstrating core values in all situations.
  • Purpose is how intentional and mission-driven you are in your role.
  • Presence is mindful awareness and attention without unnecessary judgment.
  • Priority is how intentional you are in focusing on the things that matter most.
  • Passion is the positive attitude, vitality, and energy you bring to your work.
  • Perspective is the ability to expand your view and keep things in proportion.
  • Preparation is your groundwork and degree of readiness for key activities.
  • Proficiency is the depth and breadth of competency you demonstrate.
  • Patience is the art of pausing and the willingness to slow down when needed.
  • Perseverance is your strength of conviction, determination, and resilience.

To reinforce the sources of authentic power, consider the case of a senior manager in a consumer products company. With a history of meeting commitments as a great collaborator with strong values, he had not advanced to his satisfaction and often found himself acting with too much fear and anxiety.

He started on a personal mission of self-empowerment that involved the development of a new leadership paradigm and growth plan. He focused on the power sources of purpose, preparation, and proficiency.

He applied a new mindset to become more purposeful with senior leaders about improving strategy execution to drive revenue; a new behavior to migrate from a passive How can I help? attitude to a more assertive This is what we need to do and this is why approach; a new practice to become more proactive in both formal and informal settings; and, a new ability to communicate more persuasively on key operational topics.

Working with a coach, he was able to let go of limiting beliefs about himself and develop new ways of thinking, relating, and working. He was promoted within a few months.

How will you unleash your true power?