How to Be Strong and Powerful

By: Susan Dunn, Ma Psychology, Emotional Intelligence Coach

When we think of leadership, we often think of the traits of strength, and power. But what are these really, and how do they operate?

Leadership today is not about coercion and forcing others to do things. If these things are even possible, they are short-term, and tend to backfire. If you force someone to do something against their will, they may do it because they feel they must, but the resentment they feel will do more harm in the long-term. They will also experience fear.

Fear causes the thinking brain to shut down, making the person unable to function at his or her best. If they associate you with this emotion of fear, they will become less functional around you, and you will have succeeded in not only shooting yourself in the foot, but possibly rendering a very competent and effective employee, partner or colleague dysfunctional.
Fear has no place in leadership.

The way we influence people in a lasting way is by our own character, way of being, and understanding and use of emotion. We can order someone to do something, which may be part of the work day; or we can engage them at the emotional level, so they become invested in the project and provide some of their own motivation.

Today’s work place is all about relationships. It always has been, but it’s just now being labeled as such.

Anyone works harder in a positive environment where they’re recognized and valued as a human being as well as a worker. Everyone produces just a bit more for someone they like. This is human nature. Leaders understand the way things work, not a fantasy of how things “should" work. Over and over we read that the pay check is not the single most motivating factor in the work life of most people. What is? The relationship!

Good relationships motivate the individual. They also create a positive atmosphere in the work place. Both are necessary for the best functioning.

Some of the most powerful people are the most soft and gentle. True strength is an inner strength that comes from the confidence of emotional intelligence – knowing your own emotions, and how to handle them, and those of others.

Think of the last time you saw someone lose their temper. Immediately your respect falls, yes? You may fear them, which is understandable because someone who cannot manage their own temper is unpredictable, but you will not respect them or find them worthy of “following" unless by coercion. Anyone having a temper tantrum looks like a two-year-old, because they’re acting like a two-year-old. There’s no way around it.

Theodore Roosevelt’s definition of diplomacy was, “Talk softly and carry a big stick." Every leader needs a large touch of diplomacy to influence others, create vision, and achieve goals.

The “big stick" can be a sort of inner resolve – authenticity, if you will, and integrity. We are all too aware of when someone is authentic, and when they are phony, and no one wants to willingly follow someone they can’t trust. There’s that word again – trust. We trust people who are constant, predictable, and under good self-management.

What’s the bottom line? Being strong and powerful refers to inner strength and power over yourself. No one can manage, lead or influence someone else if they, themselvesFree Web Content, are out-of-control. Developing your emotional intelligence is the single best thing you can do if you want to develop your leadership skills.

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