Title Power vs Personal Power

Title Power VS Personal Power

Written by: Brad Herda August 11, 2017

Is there a go to person for problem-solving, advice, or asks great questions, and they are not in a leadership role in your organization? Do you have a person in your company that when they speak everyone listens even though he/she does not have a title? How about this one, your leaders provide a strategic direction, and people look to that individual contributor to make sure it is OK?

Personal Power Vs. Title Power which would you prefer?

We all have known the VP, Manager, Supervisor who has ruled their team with authority and fear because they are the boss. How do those teams perform? How have you felt as part of those teams? In many cases, there is another person people go to get help, advice, and mentorship from because they are afraid to speak with the leader. Titles run many leaders, and some take the power of the title to rule versus lead.

I have been very fortunate to have been that person people have gone to since I started working at a local grocery store in high school. I developed the relationships with my co- workers, getting my work done, and then helping others, listening and learning about how the operation works, how my roles impacted those around me. This behavior earned me the right to ask "Why" and more importantly the right to ask, "Why Not."

Personal Power earned over time, and it is part of who you are, it cannot be faked, it is critical to respect it and not abuse it. Your actions and behaviors are seen by many, you may not know you are being watched, but you are. I earned this personal power by being a student and a teacher for the organizations I have worked. Sharing what I knew and helping others be successful created many great conversations and opportunities to achieve numerous things. I took great pride in helping others attain their goals, seeing them get the recognition and accolades.

Over time the recognition and the titles came, but in the end, it was more important to me to be able to talk with people, share ideas, and make changes because it made sense, it was right for the business, the customer, or employees, not because "I said so."

It is critical organizations recognize those in the company with great personal power, and it is vital to have them involved as a sounding board, idea generation, promoter of the organizational behaviors and supporter of the plan. As a leader, you need to recognize they have significant influence in your success. As an employee, you need to understand the influence people with high personal power have on leaders to help get ideas promoted and implemented.

Look around your office and see if your leaders have Title Power, Personal Power or both.


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