Contributed by Sarah McCrary
This is the third post in the “Understand Your Power To Claim Your Value” series. Previous posts identified the seven sources of power and highlighted that enduring and authentic power emanates from referent, expert, and connection power sources.
Be Decisive Under Pressure
There are techniques to build your decision making agility in situations where there is time pressure, incomplete information, and consequences to delay. Having a decision making system to fall back on when you are feeling overwhelmed by the situation helps you keep a calm demeanor and be decisive under pressure. Here are two examples of decision making questions that effective decision makers might employ:
- Will the outcome of your decision matter in 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years? This helps to scope the impact of the actions you might be considering.
- What does this mean to our employees, our customers, our brand? This helps to prioritize the actions you should take.
How you respond in a high pressure situation directly impacts your referent power, how your expert power is valued, and can detract or add to your connection power. Be aware of behaviors that reflect negatively on you such as reacting emotionally, blame shifting, and blame absorbing. These behaviors indicate your primary concern is your own situation and image.
Others will not appropriately recognize your value if you don’t value yourself. Beaming self-confidence is a powerful cue to others that you have an important contribution to make. Growing your mastery over the skills and abilities required for your role on the team and organization leads to more confidence. Intentionally hone your craft to build your expert power in an effective manner.
Develop your referent power by demonstrating confident behaviors such as assuming positive intent, sidestepping personal attacks and bullying behaviors, and lifting others up as you climb. These behaviors demonstrate your confidence in yourself, your expertise, and your abilities.
Expecting time in the job will equal mastery, participating in paranoid thinking, and painting yourself as the sole hero. These behaviors expose you as someone lacking confidence, no matter what you say. They reduce your influence with existing connections and make it difficult to create new connections. Beaming confidence only works to help you claim your value when it is deep and authentic to you.
Build Your Value Methodically
You can effectively expand your value by learning about the sources of your power and avoiding behaviors that detract from your influence.
Take deliberate action to hone your craft, grow your confidence, and build quality connections in your network. Building your value methodically is possible and the benefits are realized over time as your value to your team and organization grow.
Recognize that the system you work in may not be accommodating to your growth. On several occasions I have been asked how one should maneuver in an environment that does not prioritize the types of intrinsic influence highlighted in this series. It is not reasonable to assume everyone can immediately escape a hostile system. It is difficult to “assume positive intent” when you know that the meaning was clearly negative.
In these instances, an individual can set-out to make changes over time, which requires patience and determination; or discredit the system and its priorities. It takes a strong sense of self to continue to work in a system built on transactional power. Learning to focus back on what you can control – mastery over your craft, mastery over your own behaviors, and quality of your connections – helps you build your value methodically overtime and either change the system or leave it.
Feature image from Flickr Commons
Over the past fifteen-plus years, Sarah has enjoyed roles in technology product development and IT project and program management leadership. She is particularly interested in connecting businesses, consumers, and developers to make commerce easier and more secure for all. Her product experiences include co-inventing an encryption solution for protecting payment data (Heartland Secure e3); leading hardware and software start-up, Leaf, and leading the digital strategy transformation for a Fortune 1000 company (Heartland Payment Systems).