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3 Buckets of POWER

3 Buckets of Power

Positional Power Influential Power Personal Power


I have personally experienced the power of power over my 58 years inside this amazing creation.

I am sure there are many other types of power, but I have noticed three big buckets of power that each of us must navigate. Like many other principles in this world, the concept of “power” is neutral…it’s how we use or abuse it that generates the positive or negative result.


Positional Power

(You over others)

Positional Power is the most visible type of power. People take positions of power or are given positions of power. They use this position to serve others or to be served. Of the 3 power buckets, this is the most likely to be abused. People point to their “position” and tell others to fall in line or do what they say because of their location on the organizational chart. Positional power is important and its impact (positive or negative) comes as a result of its use or abuse.

Positional power gone wrong creates unsettling insecurity within organizations and teams. As people tell people what to do because they are “in charge,” the masses whisper under their breath, “Prima donna,” and either do things grudgingly, disengage, or actively work against this dictatorial energy.

On the other hand, positional power correctly executed stabilizes teams and increases performance. During well over one hundred corporate sessions facilitated over the past 15 months (concluding with our best quarter ever), we have been discussing with our amazing clients the meaning of “credibility” to their organizations. Positional power coupled with high “credibility” energizes teams. Personal power (positive or negative) connected with low credibility decapitates the leadership opportunity and often results in anarchy.

Pat Quinn, one of my favorite NHL coaches, who passed away too soon, once said to me, “Ryan, coaches don’t lose the room,” even though in sports we often hear pundits say that the coach has lost the room, which is positional power gone wrong. Pat said to me, “Ryan, coaches don’t lose the room… PLAYERS start listening to a new voice.” Positional power without “influence” becomes anemic.

Wow – great point! Positional Power loses its effect when it is consistently missing the next two buckets of power, Influential Power & Personal Power.


Influential Power

(You move others)

Leadership guru John Maxwell has said that if we had only one word to describe leadership, it would be influence.

I have been studying Influence for many years. Early in my NHL career I was named captain at the age of 22 during a time where our Washington Capital team had players as old as 38. With that type of age differential, my positional power could have been an issue, so my challenge was to focus on influencing the room? Influence has the potential to occur at every level within a team and org chart, and can also obviously have both a positive and negative impact.

Our training companies 2016 leadership positioning philosophy is “Leaders leading Leaders” and “Leaders following Leaders.” In today’s business and sports economy we have no time for followers. We must increase the leadership capacity of everyone on our team! Therefore, positively influencing the energy and direction of our team is essential at every level. The NHL playoffs are playing out at this moment and what do we see? Players at every level of the team org-chart, including third and fourth line talent, (influencing) in in multiple ways the team win. People with informal leadership positioning can still have “high influence.”

Influencing others is a skill to continually develop. We facilitate a “Leadership is Influence” session that explores Robert Chaldini’s Six Principles of influence. Chaldini suggests thatthere are principles already in play throughout the world that can help us ethically influence others. A deeper understanding of these principles empowers our leadership. Influential Power is often based on the strength and quality of relationships and these connections are often contingent upon our personal power… our next focus.


Personal Power

(Your IN-sight)

The way you think-about-you is the way you will lead!

Many of our clients have chuckled when I have said, “Very few people change a lot!” This is probably not a smart thing for me to say since we are in the people and team “change” business. Here is my positioning: People may not CHANGE… but they do GROW. If you insist that I change my game to play like my old roommate, Guy Lafleur… I can’t. But if you ask me to maximize (grow) my talents to contribute to our team success…I’m in!

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This positioning and principle is critical. Personal Power is the foundation for all positive power. Personal “growth” is natural and essential. Many leaders that we meet are busy doing their work, but frustrated because their influence has decreased and their leadership has plateaued. “Your people emulate your energy!” If you as one of the leaders with Positional Power are not enthusiastically growing, then your team stagnates and their collective energy declines. To paraphrase John Maxwell: If you grow yourself to a 6 out of 10 as a leader, your team has a chance to be a 5. But if you grow yourself to be an 8 out of 10 as a leader, your team has a chance to be a 7. Your attitude towards Personal Power development is the glass ceiling.

Personal Power comes from a healthy Inner Game. We are spending a large part of our Leadership-Team-Performance development sessions working with our clients to generate deeper awareness around their Inner Game. We believe that this area of personal power health (belief system, mindset and more) has a direct link to ROI and personal & team results.

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(Watch for much more to come on developing our Personal Power, since this is an area of passion for our company!) Aligned, and together, these three buckets of power become powerful.

Positive people power actually works best backwards. Grow yourself first, (Personal Power) develop influence, (Influential Power) and then others will increase your Position on the org-chart (Positional Power.)


Finally, 3 Power Questions Critical to your Growth

Does your positional power yield positive or negative returns?

What influential power (positive or negative) do you have over others?

How “healthy” is your personal power today?




Call me directly at 1 (877) 816-1877

to brainstorm growing your power and your team.



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