Skip main navigation

Recap: Building Your Base of Power

Recap: Building Your Base of Power
So let’s do a quick recap on building your base of power. And again, all of this is about how do you build your base of power so that you have the ability to influence other people. Whether it’s people up the organization, your boss, whether it’s across the organization, down, or even external. So we’ve talked a little bit about our Michigan model of leadership that you see again here. Whether you’re trying to influence people to drive change, whether you’re trying to influence people to build community and foster teamwork. Whether you’re trying to influence people to deliver results, work under pressure. Whether you’re trying to influence people to follow a certain process over a certain structure to optimize efficiency.
No matter what you are influencing them to do, you have to have that base of power so that you can influence them.
In this course, what we’ve done first is we’ve defined power. We define power largely as your control over the resources that people value. That control is relative and contextual. You can walk into one meeting and be the most powerful person in that room. You can walk into a different meeting and be the least powerful person in that room yet you are the same person in the same position. It’s just relative to others people, very important to understand. It’s also important to understand that your control over resources that are valued varies. That control varies but also what resources and what’s valuable to people also varies. Very important to keep in mind.
So, make sure that you have a clear definition of power that understands it’s relative, it’s contextual, and it is dynamic. In some cases, the power’s actual. It can be very well defined, you can write it down. Legitimate power for example that comes from the hierarchy. Versus expertise, which is often times perceptual. Who’s the expert in the room? That’s a perception, keep those things in mind. We’ve talked about the clear benefits, the clear cost. Your job as a leader in your team, in your organization, is to ensure that you are taking advantage of the benefits of your power and other people’s power.
But then putting into place the checks, the balances so that your team, your organization is not incurring the cost of that power. Over confidence, not listening to others, self focus, etc. So keep in mind both those benefits and the cost. Then we talked about the bases of power, personal, cognitive and structural. Now you maybe at the top of your organization and have all the structural power in the world. You still have to remember the bases of power that come from the personal and the cognitive. Often times, your effectiveness in terms of your influencing other people relies on your ability to not only use the structural, but also the personal and cognitive.
At the same time, let’s assume for a moment you’re at the bottom of your organizational chart. You do not have the legitimate structural authority that power. You can still enhance your power, thus your ability to influence other people. By focusing on the personal bases of power and or the cognitive bases of power. So again, even if you do not have the formal authority you still can enhance the personal and the cognitive bases of power.
We then talked about how you develop each of those bases of power: personal, structural, and cognitive. So you now have some very clear strategies and tactics that you can use to enhance that power. we then talked about, with great power, comes great responsibility. Do not lose sight of the power that you do have, the influence that that can have on other people, and ultimately the responsibility that that entails, for you as a leader In your team, your organization both today as well as into the future.
This article is from the free online

Influencing People

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education