How to Use Power?

15 June 2010

What the hell is this power and how do people use it?

Power is the exertion of influence and the ability to modify or change another person's way or behaviour. In life, it is crucial to have power, especially in business organizations, in order to achieve certain goals. This is under psychology, and power should be used only for good, not bad. As a start, there are 5 types of power.

Types of Power
Legitimate Power
This is the formal and legitimate rights by law, that a person can exercise power on. It is also known as authority. This power exists in working environments, superiors possess this power.

2. Coercive Power
This a negative type of power, where a person exercises power by threatening, psychological manipulation, or in any other ways that forces another person to obey due to fear or uncertainty.

3. Expert Power
Knowledge is power. For this type, the person has higher knowledge about a specific field, and others will tend to listen to every word the person tells them to do.

4. Referent Power
Referent power is based on the charismatic attributes of a person, whereby others may look up and take that person as a role model. In doing so, this charismatic person can exercise power.

5. Reward Power
This power is exercised by simply offering a reward.

By using these powers, you can influence others to do things you want them to do. As such, tasks can be completed in a correct manner, in a way you want them to be. Leaders who do not have the power cannot lead their people properly!

How To Use It?
The types of power already explained themselves on how to use them, but take a look at the Weapons of Influence, which I must say is really good.

To use power, you have to first separate emotions from everyday life. Then, you develop plans or strategies to draft out your ways of converting what you want to do (idealism) into realism through actions. Your actions will consist of talking, socializing and building networks. By picking out the best words to use, you can exert the most power with carefully chosen words that other people may have a liking towards it. Words are really sensitive, and even if you say it with one word different, people may approach it differently.

Weapons of Influence
According to Robert Cialdini, there are 6 weapons of influence.

1. Reciprocity
This means to return a favour. By helping others, people tend to return a favour by helping you back. For example, half the people attending an art appreciation session were offered a soft drink. Afterwards, all were asked if they would buy 25-cent raffle tickets. Guess what? The people who had been offered the soft drinks purchased twice as many raffle tickets, whether or not they had accepted the drinks!

2. Commitment and Consistency
When someone else is really committed in doing something, he will do so even though there are some problems with it. Also, if a person is consistent in their life by doing certain tasks every day, they will be so used to doing it until it is like a MUST for them. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy.

3. Social Proof
This is where people follow other people's actions. If so many people recommend a can of Pringles and say that it's so good, you'll want to try it too. Another example would be, if one person stops in the streets to look in the sky, other people would stop to look as well because they're uncertain of what it is there. It would even be so powerful that it would stop traffic!

4. Authority
People will obey authoritative figures and loyal people would basically do whatever they are asked to do, even though they object.

5. Liking
This is quite common, and people who like a particular person will be easily influenced by that person. Similarly, this is what happens when boys do whatever a pretty girl asks them to do.

6. Scarcity
Limited edition? People will be rushing to want it. This basically creates an idea among people's minds that they're given an opportunity to do something now or else they will lose that opportunity forever. Perceived scarcity will generate demand!

Why Use Power?
There are many things that won't go your way, and you'll have to find your way around it. If you really have to get things done through or with other people, you will need the power.

Influence -> Power -> Control -> Your Way

Power should only be used when necessary. Using too little power will get you trashed and people will not follow you. Using too much power will also backfire and people rebel against you. Timing is also important, and this will vary for so many different situations in reality. Theories rarely apply in reality due to dynamic environment. Try to learn these weapons of influence and study them to fit you. Do you know how to use your power?