Building Your Personal Power

| Katie Snapp

A classic dilemma. Many people are in positions of needing to influence others, yet do not have actual authority. As project managers, account managers, product leads, and so forth, you may be responsible for results, yet the people that are the levers to make it happen don’t report to you! Sound familiar?


Diagnosis: you have no "position power." You can’t wave your wand in a get-it-done fashion and see people jump. Dang frustrating, that’s what it is.

What you want is "personal power," something that will affect others to act, because they have respect for your word and understand the reason to engage. They also need to have confidence in you.

Personal power cannot be achieved overnight, but there are some things you can do to get the ball rolling. Here’s where building your leadership savvy and developing as an effective business woman can help.

Be cautious of looking at the situation as "I need to get them to ...." Others may pick up on it and sense that someone is pushing them. They tend to resist. (It’s crazy how humans are.)

Instead, clearly state what you want, what the organization needs, perhaps what you see as a vision for cooperation and productivity.

Then, turn it around to them by letting it sit a bit. Let go of it. Let silence do the heavy lifting.

Try using my favorite influencing technique – the question approach. Ask yourself: if you have this certain vision, what might theirs be? Ask them: if we were to solve this problem, what would be done? Ask what they see as not working perfectly, then what they might do about it. Visualize standing shoulder to shoulder and looking at a problem together from the same angle, rather than facing each other. These simple tactics in perspective can lead to cooperation.

Use your past success to maintain your confidence - you HAVE done it and you ARE good at it. But now you are adapting a little.

Simple adjustments. Subtle reminders. Empowering selves.

Hear more from Katie at our 2019 Leadership Summit.