Learn to ‘Manage with Power’ from these historical examples


Walking, talking and managing with ‘Power’ is not an innate ability. It is a skill that can be learned and practiced. It can help us deliver on our projects and programs. Here are some examples:

General Patton

General George S. Patton (1885-1945) was one of the most decorated military officers in World War II.  A four-star general and hero of the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, he is almost always photographed with a fierce expression on his face.

But this was an act. Patton used to rise each morning and practice frowning in front of a mirror. He was practicing one of the attributes of power — acting fierce.

Andy Grove

Legendary Intel engineer and executive Andy Grove (1936-2016) also realized the need to walk and talk with power. But, understanding that fierceness is not something normally associated with the profession of engineering, Grove realized that to be successful he would need to teach his engineers how to be fierce.

So he mandated that every employee attend lessons on being fierce. He wanted ideas to be passionately argued over, and for his employees to fight for the best idea for the business, instead of shying away from conflict. He called it Constructive Confrontation.

Maurice Lévy

Maurice Lévy was an IT Programmer for a small advertising house in Paris in 1972 when a fire at the company’s headquarters threatened to destroy all customer records and leave the company unable to operate. Lévy ran back inside the burning building and saved the customer records. He is now Chairman of that same company, Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest advertising and communications group.

Maurice demonstrated his own depths of personal power on that day.

So what can you do?

Managing with Power takes practice and effort. Small steps help. For example, watch your posture. ‘Shoulder back, chest out’ is the recommended standing position. When speaking, make sure you talk slowly, and use pauses for added gravitas. Make a conscious decision to be positive, especially in your interactions with others.

If you are at the beginning of your career you will not have much power, but you will have time. You can use that time to befriend others and go to events that are important to them. You can also take on small, unimportant tasks – people may be uninterested but these can become important sources of power later on.

Best of luck on your journey!

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