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Personal Power Vs Positional Power In HR

When a rebellious child demands, "Why do I have to?" the exasperated parent replies, "Because I said so."

This is the power of position: I'm your parent; bigger, older, smarter, so do what I say.

Sometimes it's all a loving parent has to fall back on. But in the workplace, it's too often the default approach to authority.

Fortunately, HR professionals are less tempted by it, not so much because they are better people but because they have very little of it. Positional power, that is.

The HR style is to influence by personal power, so let's look at how you can you increase yours.

Honesty and Authenticity

Personally, I'm willing to accept the authority of someone who always speaks the truth, and whom I can trust to show me their authentic self. No games, no disguises.

I'll follow their lead because I know exactly where they stand.


If I'm asked to travel into the unknown, I want my companions to be people who have been in a multitude of situations.

The more life experience they possess, the more skilfully they will respond to situations new, unknown, or threatening.


Self-assured people are, paradoxically, fully aware that they are fallible.

Their confidence leaves them calm. They're free to be persuasive, rather than demanding, brash, or belligerent.


Truly confident leaders ask others for their opinions.

That means they're relying on the best, most current data available. So I'll happily follow them.


With maturity, either you have it, or you don't. But we know what we like about mature people.

They don't run after every trend or adore every hero. They assess people based on capability and contribution, not glitz or connections.

They take time to think about their decisions, but can respond quickly in an emergency. And they are as stable as possible in these unstable times.

Those are qualities that will increase your personal power, helping you win friends, influence people for good, and do your job better.

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