Significance of Being Powerful

Lisa Weington, director of Zurich cancer centre is planning to boost the institution by delivering a single centre for all the tests needed by any cancer patients so that when a patient comes with abnormal symptoms in the hospital they must leave with proper medications and treatment plan. For this she needs to indulge every department of the hospital in her plan. Although she is a director, still everyone has its own plan and she has little say in everyone’s personal project. We cannot compel anyone to perform something out of their work. In such a situation what Lisa actually needs is ‘Power’. To implement strategies she needs her positional power to pursue everyone towards single goals. “Power was my first significant focus even when I was teaching at Harvard. I let my students use tools and ideas and even enable them to bring change in their careers”.

Making peace with power

Being a manager in itself is a difficult job. You cannot allow yourself to be not at ease while in meeting and discussion. Politics is a part of organisation and it also decreases job satisfaction, morale and commitment. There are three kinds of managers who get motivated through different means like some find motivation through affiliation, some through recognition and third the most effective way is through their position or power.

Even at school level teachers with high PSI (political skill inventory) are considered effective leaders than the one who does not possess it. To use your power you first need to remove your doubts about power.

Using your power

Power allows you to have things in your way but it also means to leverage when required to let others offer you ideas when needed.Things people can do to advance their agendas:


If you own special power over resources like money, tools, equipment, space and information, you can use them to empower yourself through this. You can help others who can support your goals. Although money gives power but it is not the only way to earn power. If you have information it can also change the organisational economical value through competitive deals.

Rewards and punishments

Whether private or government sector people reward those who helped them and punish those who stand in between their way. Religh  Gardner founder of non governmental society shared his experience at Melinda, when programmes launched by Melinda have expanded but everyone was not very excited. Religh told them that they have the right to oppose it but they must be ready for its consequences too.

Ready for multiple fronts

While designing any plan there are chances of several resistance but instead of halting one must ready with another front. The story of Mr Mehta to build Indian cricket tournament which has players from foreign too. However it was opposed by BCCI so instead of moving back Mehta pursued his agenda by establishing a relationship with Indian political leader who was highly interested in cricket and used political power to establish his goal.

Make the first move

One must be ready with opponents’ weak points and make moves before they even know what is happening like in our above example in 2008 BCCI was involved in election procedure when Mehta charged BCCI with corruption allegations. BCCI was caught totally unaware and Mehta’s political friend won the election and he quickly helped Mehta to pursue her plan.

Co-op antagonist

You can even win if you partnered with your opponent for example you disagree with Michel’s demand for single universal Health care. Clashing with her head on is not the best approach. Instead understand her because she holds all the prospect of lower healthcare costs. Adopt that as a goal and propose her alternative route for getting there.

Remove your opposition nicely

Another way is to remove your opponents gracefully via offering them outplacement like more attractive jobs somewhere else.

Don’t get indulge in unnecessary issues

Always keep your goal clear otherwise it is easy to lose direction and priorities. Be careful not to create a necessary opponents. Clear your mind where you are going and step along the path.

Use personal touch

Creating personal bonds with employees, colleagues and even gatekeepers can make your position strong in the organisation. Just don’t rely on email to communicate and call. Personal ties are very important.


It is very important to win in the long run. There is a chance that your opponent might make a mistake or retire or get transferred to another job.

Power is everywhere. It really depends on how you define it. In light of this, I like how Pierre Bourdieu looks at power. He looks at how elites in society use power for their own gain by tweaking culture to favor them.

I believe that power might be defined differently according to who possesses it.  For example there is power of the individual, power of small groups, power of cities, power of states, and power of nations. Power has multiple sources. It plays a role in shaping most social relationships and in determining who gets to decide important social, economic and environmental questions. Often we can see power at work in very direct and obvious ways.


Author: A.C.

Dr. Chakraborty is a researcher in electronics and has authored numerous articles in the domain. She is also an avid blogger and shares a penchant for domains like technology, business and science.

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