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    Women in Business Can Leverage their Resources to Gain Power

    People talk about having power, getting power and maintaining power.

    But, what exactly is power? And once you have it, how can you leverage it? When I think about powerful women in business, I think about women leaders who exhibit strength, resilience, and grace. For me, it’s all about tapping into your inner strengths –  finding what drives you as a woman business leader and using this to propel others and gain momentum for your business. I found the following tips, excerpted from a book on power by Jeffrey Pfeffer, to be thought-provoking.

    • Leverage Resources
      While I don’t agree with nor have I tried all of Jeffery’s suggestions,  the following might spur you to think about how you can leverage you own resources:

      Whenever you have discretionary control over resources — money, equipment, space and/or information — you can use them to build a power base. Helping people evokes reciprocity, a universal drive to want to repay a favor — even without making it explicit that there’s a quid pro quo. Money is not the sole source of leverage. Access to information or key people can be even more valuable.
    • Shape Behaviors with Rewards and Punishments
      The author suggests readers may not agree with his viewpoint and I have to say, while this does not appeal to me personally and I’ve not used this approach, it provides food for thought.
      In international companies and governments, leaders reward those who help them and punish those who stand in their way. You may disagree with this approach, but it remains an important tool for building a power base. Leaders who effectively wield influence make it clear that subordinates will reap rewards if they help and problems if they refuse to pitch in.
    • Make the Vision Compelling
      Of all his suggestions on power, I have the strongest affinity for this one. Having my own business, I can identify with his point of view.
      It’s easier to exercise power when you’re aligned with a compelling, socially valuable objective. Similarly, power struggles inside companies seldom revolve around blatant self-interest. At the moment of crisis and decision, clever combatants typically invoke shareholders’ interests, company values and mission, and causes greater than short-term or personal interests.

    For more information about power, read Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book, Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t.

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