Building Your Power Base at Work

The more power and influence you develop on the job, the more you will be paid and the faster you will be promoted.

There are three types of power that you can develop at work, all of which can be extremely helpful to you in getting ahead.

The first type of power you can develop is expert power.

The expert in any organization is the person who has taken the time to become extremely competent in a critical area. Often, the expert in an organization is even more powerful than the senior executives, because that individual is largely irreplaceable. This is sometimes called the “critical skill” of the company, because it is vital to continued cash flow, growth, and even the survival of the business.

The second type of power is ascribed power.

This is a form of unofficial power that gravitates toward you, like iron filings toward a magnet, because you are the kind of person others like and respect and enjoy being around. In every work situation, there is a person with ascribed power. This person has an influence out of proportion to his or her job, because people come to him or her for advice, for counsel, to solve problems, and because he or she is a genuinely likable person. Ascribed power enables you to influence a greater number of people than you could without it. And it often leads to promotions and opportunities that would not have arisen in its absence.

The key to gaining ascribed power is to be pleasant with everyone. Be positive and upbeat. Be cheerful. Get a reputation for being nice. Have something positive to say to each person about each person. Never complain. Ask people questions about themselves, and be a good listener. Ascribed power can help you go far in a short period of time.

The third type of power in an organization is position power.

This is the power and authority that goes along with a particular position or title. For example, the person who is in charge of sales has the authority to make decisions with regard to the sales force. The person who is in charge of finance has the authority to make decisions with regard to how monies are allocated and accounted for. Position power is very important in any organization, and one of the jobs of a boss is to make it crystal clear to everyone exactly how much authority goes with an individual’s job title and responsibilities.

You can enhance your position power by using it gently and constructively. Instead of telling people to do things because you have the authority to do so, ask them to help you get a specific job done. The best leaders are excellent, low-pressure salespeople. Even though they have the power to insist that things be done their way, they ask people diplomatically, with tact and sensitivity, to get a particular job done by a particular time.

The more you refrain from asserting your position power, the more people will respect you and be eager to cooperate with you to help you achieve your goals.

You can develop your expert power, ascribed power, and position power by working on your people skills. You gain ascribed power by being a helpful, likable, and cooperative person to work with. You develop expert power by becoming extremely competent in one or two areas where you can make a significant contribution to the organization. And you receive position power in that, as you increase your talents, you will be given more people to influence so that you can help the company achieve greater productivity.

Now, here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, make a decision, right now, to develop “expert power” by becoming very good at your job.

Second, resolve to increase your “ascribed power” by being positive, polite, and cheerful with everyone, even when you don’t feel like it.

Third, increase your “position power” by taking the time to work closely with your staff and help them do their jobs better and easier.

[Ed. Note: Brian Tracy is one of America ‘s leading authorities on the development of human potential and personal effectiveness. With Brian’s Ultimate Goal Achieving Package, you can discover a simple and easy-to-learn way to get everything you want out of life. Learn more here.]