You’re More Powerful Than You Think

imageOne of my clients the other day told me about a time he was speaking with a stranger at a coffee shop.  After a short conversation, the stranger mentioned that he was a close friend of a significant business owner in the area. He mentioned it in passing, but my client’s ears pricked up and all of a sudden the relationship with this person felt more valuable.  The fact that this stranger had the ability to connect my client with someone of benefit increased the value of their relationship very quickly.  What the stranger had accessed was connection power.

Olivia Cobane in her book “the charisma myth” discusses how power is one of the core ingredients of influence.  From this original concept, I have constructed four types of power that you can leverage to make yourself more influential. Remember, as a leader, it’s important to be perceived as having some level of power.  Power gives you authority.  A leader without power can come across as being needy and lacking charisma.  The problem with power is that it can be abused.  My intention in exposing these powers is for you to make positive changes in your world happen faster.

Here are the four powers:

Power #1: Connection. The very fact that you are connected with people who have access to power means you are powerful.  In other words, you ‘know people.’

Power #2: Expertise. Our own personal knowledge creates power.  If you develop your expertise in a specific area (for example, “how to buy an investment property”), this is a specific power that you can leverage.  In other words, you ‘know stuff.’

Power #3: Posture. The way you choose to use your body impacts how people perceive you. If you choose to walk confidently, the assumption is that you are a confident individual. This leads to the second assumption, which is that you have something to be confident about. In other words, you ‘look confident.’

Power #4: Status. The clothes you wear, the car you drive, the title you have on your business card are all examples of status.  We use status to understand where we sit in society’s (imaginary) ranking. In other words, you ‘look important.’

Here is the model:


Use these four powers wisely and responsibly to leverage your influence.




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  • Trish Maluta
    Posted at 00:10h, 05 September Reply

    Hi Colin – this was really interesting and I felt a familiarity about this model as it confirms by own beliefs about where personal power comes from. For me, related to this is the power ‘give and take’ that we all experience when we’re interacting with different individuals, the way that, as individuals when we come together we jostle about and establish a pecking order. I feel that we draw our power from within ourselves and its very much up to us as to whether we keep it and use it wisely or whether we give it up to others.

    • administrator
      Posted at 00:29h, 05 September Reply

      Hey Trish, thanks for your comment. I also like the idea of give-and-take. Robert Chialdini talks about this in his book ‘influence’ the principle of reciprocity. From me reciprocity can sound manipulative, so I like to think of it as simply being generous. However the principle of reciprocity holds true within society.
      You’re right, I believe that you can choose your level of power. This aligns quite well with posture power, which is about how you choose to be in the world and what you choose to send out to others.
      Thanks again for your thoughts you are a rockstar!

  • Magda
    Posted at 13:00h, 06 September Reply

    it is quite obvoius not always the most smart and experience person have a chance to be promoted.

    What about the “virtual teams?” – the concept which is working in big corporations?
    Power 3 and 4 is hardly applicable in my opinion.

    • administrator
      Posted at 02:11h, 11 September Reply

      Hi Magda, thanks for your comments. I can appreciate that you work in a highly virtual environment. How power 3 could work – posture is that your physiology affects how you actually speak and communicate – which is founded in neuroscience research. When you work on your posture you actually communicate better because it affects your neurology. It is an indirect effect however I think it could still impact.

      In relation to power 4 – Status, I believe your title would be the main thing affecting this power. Obviously the clothes you’re wearing and the car you drive will not be applicable.

      Appreciate your thoughts.

  • Gregor
    Posted at 15:51h, 06 September Reply

    Hi Colin, I have never seen it from that perspective but indeed its true, it’s a matter of bit from quadrant of your chart. Would be nice to lay a diagram with the different cultures around the globe on top of this…

    I bet there are quite some differences which become well visible through this. (i.e. one culture very much into “status” power, some more on the connection side …)

    Thanks for sharing this with me – I do enjoy your idea “sparks”.

    Cheers from Stuttgart, Germany,


    • administrator
      Posted at 02:13h, 11 September Reply

      Thanks for your comment Gregory – appreciate you sharing. It would be very interesting to look at how various cultures are impacted by these types of power.

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