The professional arena is all about power playing. The strong thrive, and the weak cease to survive. Your goal, at all times, is to achieve the level of power that you need, in order to get what you want.
If power is, indeed, what you seek, below, you will find your game plan:
1. Complete Tasks Before Asked
Task completion creates a reputation of you being one that habitually gets the job done. There is power in reputation. To anticipate needs and act before asked creates a trust between you, your colleagues, and your superiors. There is power in trust. Learn how to know what needs to get done before it needs to be completed, and then do it. You’ll create an air of focus and show that you are the type of employee that means business—it’s hard to go against that.
2. Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Please—don’t underestimate the power of your body. The way you carry yourself can make or break other’s perception of you.
Some experts will argue that your body even speaks before you do. According to Valorie Burton, author of Successful Women Speak Differently, “Understanding how your body works projects confidence or lack thereof, warmth or coldness, anxiety or calm, and is critical to your success and happiness.” Burton encourages power posing.
An example of a good power pose is standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, while holding your hands on your hips, with your elbows out. Another example of how to physically exude a position of power is to recline in your seat, with your feet resting on the table, your hands clasped behind your head, and your elbows outstretched.
3. Remain Professional, Even When Colleagues Do Not
Remember that your co-workers are not your friends. Never lose sight of the fact that among your co-workers, whether on or off the job site, you’re constantly being scrutinized. Feel free to loosen up at happy hours and during water cooler talk, sure, but never get so loose that it becomes “the talk” the next day at work. If your colleagues begin to go too far left and lose themselves in any situation, know that your level head will be duly noted. Keep it professional.
4. Assert Yourself
Say what you mean and don’t waiver. You may not always get your way or even be right, but you’ll gain the reputation of someone who means what they say and says what they mean. There is honor and power in that.
Give opinions during meetings, offer what you feel to be viable solutions to problems, and respectfully disagree when necessary. Stand firmly on your own two feet, because being assertive and authentic promotes trust in your word. Again, trust and power go hand-in-hand.
5. Make Yourself Indispensable
Propose an initiative, start a project, facilitate a program, or fill a need. Your goal is to be essential to the work that needs to be done. Being needed is the ultimate power position. If it’ll be difficult to function without you, they will find a way to accommodate you. Now, that’s powerful.
Safon Floyd is the Digital Editor at Black Enterprise.
Follow her on Twitter: @accordingtofon.