5 Ways to Become More Powerful at Work

Woman LeadingPower is the necessary component to be successful in any human endeavor.  How to acquire power, exercise power, and how to keep power is a skillset that successful people in all walks of life have learned how to master.   However, power is not about pushing others down, or using blunt force to advance your own cause.  Rather, power in the modern workplace is about the accumulation of attributes, skills, and savvy that will allow you to get things done, build alliances, and stay employed.

Power Makes The Difference

If you are going to make a difference in the workplace and beyond, you need to have power.   However, power is not given to any one — even if you are the boss daughter.  Power has to be earned and then exercised wisely to keep it.

Working as a strategist with emerging biotech and high tech companies, I advocate the creation of a culture where there is no monopoly on power.  In fact, many of my clients have endorsed the radical idea that everyone in the company should, and must have power — and lots of it.  Working towards that end, these companies have uncovered five fundamental ways in which power is acquired within their cultures. These companies are now actively encouraging employees to seek power.  I urge you to actively seek power as well.   I hope 5 Ways to get and Keep Power at Work becomes a roadmap for your success in the office and beyond.

1. Power is acquired by who you know

Developing strong, active, and deep networks is one of the surest ways to obtain power.  Your network contains people, not a collection of business cards or contacts in LinkedIn.  The people within your network can apprise you of danger, steer you to new opportunities, and provide a wealth of data critical for your success.  However, networking is not about what you take, instead, it is about what you give.  Powerful people proactively give far more than they take from their networks.  Be powerful give to your network.

2. Power is acquired by what you know

In today’s data driven world, knowledge is King.  The most successful companies are knowledge based operations.  Your power is derived chiefly from what you know.  Powerful people develop subject matter expertise and use it smartly to advance the business.  Be powerful spread your knowledge

3. Power is acquired by solving problems

When our jobs are broken down to its most basic elements, the reason for the job in the first place is to solve some problem. Cherryl Harris, diversity and inclusion project manager with the energy company Georgia Power, describes problem solving as “The Secret Sauce of Power.”  She goes on to say; “Our ability to solve problems, proactively, quickly, and correctly — the first time — makes us a valuable and powerful business asset.”    Be powerful solve problems

4. Power is acquired by being politically savvy

Being politically savvy is defined by mastering several actions, chief among them are: (a) correctly reading the tea leaves; (b) anticipating the moves of higher ups; (c) playing well with others in the sandbox; (d) picking the right battles and winning them; and, (e) adapting to change quickly.    Be powerful be politically savvy

5. Power is acquired by communicating well

Mastery of communications in all forms: written and oral, across all platforms –-  digital and analog– is a key way to obtain power.  The ability to promote your projects, agenda, and accomplishments with tact and diplomacy is a skill the truly powerful possess.  Toastmasters International is the perfect platform to enhance your communication skills.  They offer power packed program designed for novice and experienced speakers.  Find and join a Toastmasters club near you at www.Toastmasters.org   Be powerful communicate well

The Bottom Line: Power is where Power Goes

LBJLyndon Johnson understood power–how to acquire, exercise, and keep it– better than most politicians of his or any other era.   In volume four of his masterwork on the 36th President, The Passage of Power Robert Caro, tells the story of a massive overreach to obtain power by Johnson when he was elected Vice-President in 1960.  Johnson’s mantra “Power is where power goes” was on full display in his plan to expand the powers of the Vice-Presidency.  However, his power grab was rebuked by both the Senate and the new Kennedy administration. Leaving Johnson who was one of the most power men in Washington ruling the Senate, with an iron fist for nearly a decade to being the least power man in town as John Kennedy’s Vice-President.   The point for us in business is this: Power is vital for the success of our careers.  However, we must strike a balance — on one hand, working to obtain power aggressively, carefully, and deliberately, while on the other hand not overreaching to obtain it.

— Good luck in becoming more powerful at work and beyond.

Marben Bland is a writer, speaker and strategist specializing in building sustained high growth teams for emerging business in the medical and high tech sectors.


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