If you’re a leader, you have to ask yourself this question almost every day, “What do I do that others can’t do? What do I do today with the position and the power that has been handed to me?”
A lot of leaders answer this question without thinking. But it’s incumbent upon every leader to ask themselves, “What are the legitimate uses of my power?” Here are five I can think of:
- Use your power to empower, which simply means you give everyone in the organization the permission to do their job, to carry out their task, and not be held up with endless bureaucracy and procedures. Empower the people in your organization, group, or company, and they will pay you back tenfold.
- Use your power to free-up. Don’t allow good people to be bogged down by endless levels of communication, procedure, or in-fighting. Where there are bottlenecks, step in and free-up the free-flow of meaningful action and creativity.
- Use your power to enrich. As a leader, you make the decision that your group will have a learning environment. Are the people you’re working with and leading feeling better for having worked with you and around you, and achieving a common goal? Enrich people that you have been given the responsibility to lead and they will enrich you.
- Use your power to take initiative. The leader is the one who has to do the first next right thing. You have to take action. People in your group and company will react, even overreact, and fail to act. And many times they’ll blame it on you because you’re the leader after all, and you have to initiate. You have to be a self-starter. You have to make sure that the momentum of the group is maintained.
- Use your power to protect. What are you supposed to protect? The people? Yes. The product? Certainly. The service? Of course. More importantly you protect the mission, vision, and goals of the organization. No one in your group is more important than the mission for which the group exists. All of you serve the mission, you promote the vision, and you take action that leads to the achievement of your stated goals. Protect the mission against apathy, and most importantly protect it against success.