Power and Success

Powerful people achieve success.  They are able to create opportunities that lead to success,  or they have opportunities to create success handed to them.  Power can emanate from several sources,  most famously from money and family connections.  Power also emanates from various other sources,  such as athletic ability (football hero);  musical ability (rock star);  intellect (IQ, intelligence quotient) that allows one to earn a degree from a prestigious school;  and relationships (EQ, emotional quotient / EI emotional intelligence) with powerful and influential people.  All of these power sources can be leveraged and used to propel oneself into environments where opportunities to create success are available.

For the majority of us power,  should we seek to pursue it (and most do not),  is an attribute that we develop on our own,  knowingly or unknowingly,  with or without intention and the EQ-based power that emanates from relationships is the power that is most accessible.   This variety of personal power is derived through the way we interact with others in personal and professional relationships.  To acquire this power,  one must be competent and trustworthy.   Additionally,  it is imperative to relate to others in a way that makes those who know you feel valued and good about themselves.  Those who acquire personal power through their relationships must be authentic,  or do an excellent job of convincing others that this is the case.  Powerful people inspire great loyalty and respect.

Personal power is an integral building block of leadership ability.  It can be argued that the wherewithal to develop personal power derives from the capacity to lead oneself.  Improving the ability to develop and sustain relationships by heightening EQ expertise helps one open doors that lead to opportunities that help us achieve success in business and life.  Here are guidelines that can serve as your EQ training regimen.  They were developed by Daniel Goleman,  author of Emotional Intelligence  (1995)  and based on the work of John Mayer,  personality psychologist at the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey,  social psychologist and president of Yale University:

I.      Self-awareness

The ability  (or courage)  to recognize and acknowledge one’s emotions,  motivations,  fears,  strengths and weaknesses and to understand the impact these have on our decision-making and interactions with others.  Accurate self-assessment and self-confidence are    required to master this element.

II.    Self-management

The ability  (or self-discipline)  to regulate,  control,  or redirect one’s disruptive  (read irrational,  inappropriate or destructive)  emotions or behaviors and successfully adapting to changing circumstances are the essential skills here.  This is not to say that one should knuckle under to adversity.  Just don’t throw any chairs.  Learn to fight back in a smart way that reflects well on you.  When necessary be flexible,  gracefully roll with the punches,  or devise Plan B.  Honesty,  integrity,  follow-through,  time management,  initiative and ambition reside in this element.

III.   Relationship management

Building bonds,  teamwork,  collaboration,  conflict management and social skills are the focus.  Those all-important interpersonal skills that allow us to relate to and connect with people are nurtured in this element,  as is leadership ability.  To strengthen these behaviors,  pay attention to feedback from others,   positive and negative.  Have the good judgment and maturity to display more of those behaviors that elicit positive feedback and much less of behaviors that generate unflattering comments.  Realize that there is such a thing as constructive criticism and avoid getting defensive and hostile when someone lets you know that perhaps you could have handled something another way.  Furthermore,  as painful as it might be,  listen also and check yourself when haters pounce,  for there might be a grain of truth in the venom they spew.

IV.   Empathy

EQ does not exist without genuine empathy.  Demonstrate that the feelings of others matter to you by be willing to consider the impact of your actions and decisions on others.  Think of intent vs. impact.  Challenge yourself to imagine how it might feel to be in the other person’s shoes and see the situation from another perspective.   Learn to take steps to hear and address the concerns of others.  Master this element and you’ll become a more successful negotiator.

Thanks for reading,



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