Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. Often, their manner is so identifiable that we could pick them out of a crowd even if we didn’t know who they were. It isn’t how they dress, or the locations or décor of their offices. It’s the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect.
Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Their power affect is incongruent with their actual organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, incongruent power affect can enhance their organizational power, which increases the probability of power pretenders actually attaining power. The incongruent power affect thus confers on power pretenders more deference than is their due, which helps power pretenders attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. It is therefore important to have a capacity for recognizing the power affect, and especially the incongruent power affect.
Join Rick Brenner, principal of Chaco Canyon Consulting, as he examines ten principles of projecting a powerful personal presence. ChacoCanyon.com/aboutrick.shtml & ChacoCanyon.com