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Stand in your strength, stay in your heart. Say “yes” to power and use it wisely and well.
We talk about power all the time – do we really understand what it is and how to use it? Power can be exalted, vilified, or avoided. It is both over-used and under-used. The actual definition of power is “the ability to have an effect or to have influence.” Value-neutral. It can be used for great harm or great good.
It is how this ability to affect and influence is used that determines how successful and healthy an SME (small to medium enterprise) will be. So, what is involved in using power wisely and well?
In my experience women leaders often get stuck in thinking that they have to choose between being strong as leaders or being kind as leaders. Either side of this choice results in business failures. The wisest and most challenging power style is one in which leaders stand in their strength and stay in their heart.
How can this be done? Right uses of power are actions and attitudes that accomplish tasks, preserve dignity, and promote well-being and the common good. Developing this kind of leadership call for four things:
- Be informed
- Be conscious
- Be connected
- Be skillful
Right uses of power come from a foundation of power as both strength and compassion: power with heart. This is power used without manipulation, oppression, or exploitation. This is power used to accomplish tasks, prevent or repair harm, promote the well-being of all, and empower people in all roles.
The right and ethical use of power can dramatically improve the bottom line of any business entity!
Jenny Morawska is CEO of The Morawska Group and Conference Director for Macquarie University’s upcoming Women and Leadership Conference.
Cedar Barstow is the author of the book and program–Right Use of Power: The Heart of Ethics, and the Director of the Right Use of Power Institute.