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Personal Power and You image

Power and You

Power and You

Jill Briggs, MD and Founder, Affectus

Where does understanding power originate?

In 1959 two social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven, who had been studying people and power provided us with a deeper understanding to personal and positional power. Although this work is decades old understanding the dichotomy of personal and positional power helps me each day. I also know that when I present a keynote or a workshop and weave in the concept of power the energy of the room changes.

Is this because it is observable? We see it displayed all the time.
Is it because we take our power for granted? I can feel mine wax and wane.

People respond to the concept of power. They are eager to understand and tell me stories of their experience with power. And as I share Affectus’ knowledge with my audience is unlocks responses and understanding about an attribute to access.

Awareness of power

Are you aware of your power? How does it feel?

I have often observed people using their personal power to do such good acts. I think of my father sharing his wisdom; my mother encouraging me to be courageous; a wise older person helping me with the definition of opinionated; and mentors sharing their referent power.

I have also witnessed people’s power being challenged and attacked.

When did you last see someone’s power challenged? How did it happen? How would you have managed the situation?

My story of personal power sources

Have you ever been given a crown? You know; captain of…, head of…?

I have worn a few of those crowns and, sadly, I have tarnished a few.

I distinctly remember becoming a total ratbag when given the School Vice-Captain badge when I was 12 years old. There I was, ordering people about, being pedantic about uniforms, delighting in managing the rubbish collection.

However, it was made very obvious to me within just a few short days that this behaviour was not going to be tolerated, as my lunchtime group of handstand friends shrunk to zero.

It turns out that the way I used coercive power was counterproductive to enhancing my prestige power.

How have you seen power used effectively and caringly? How have you used your power to improve a situation?

I also remember that when I wore a crown later in life that I was open, caring and enabling. I used my referent power intentionally to build the team up and their sense of combined power. The small team I worked with transformed and changed their world. 

The Power Sources.

The learning from the second example was so much more profound than from the first.

I had an opportunity to reflect in a way that challenged my behaviours and grew the positive concepts.

More importantly I understood my connection with the power I hold. I more fully understood the concept of personal use of power and sources of personal power. I gained greater understanding of my desire to be liked and therefore the power that I felt most comfortable cultivating was referent power.

Referent power is a person's perceived attractiveness, worthiness and right to others' respect).

I also gained further insight into prestige and expert power .

Prestige is- your ‘connections’ and/or status and/or reputation. Prestige power is influential or important to others. Expert power is the possession of expertise, skill, and knowledge, which gain the respect of others. Possessing the expertise to influence the behaviour of others.)

Using your personal power sources

Do you want to use your personal power sources?

This next bit is not about building up your resilience and inner strength (although this may happen by applying the tips). It’s about knowing your personal power sources and then using them to improve any situation.

7 tips for finding & using your personal power.

1 – Quiet those voices 

We all have personal power – perhaps you have a voice that says you don’t – not true we all have personal power.

2 – Find your favourite

Review the three personal powers sources mentioned above (prestige, expert and referent) and know yours.

3 – Knowing me

Write down when you most recently used expert and/or prestige and/or referent power, understanding the situation and how the use of your power made an impact.

4 – Deep Dive

Get to know expert, prestige and referent power at a deeper level. Mind map who uses it and when.

5 – Observe and Feel

Become familiar with the building up of others through watching how others use their personal power sources to improve the situation.

6 – Positivity Plus

Scenario plan the positive use of your power sources and the increase of strength of your personal power sources.

7 – Be Intentional

Use your power. Inject each situation with some of your personal power to improve the situation for everyone.

Have a look at my video about power. It will also help. 

Want to know more about power? Sign up for Ready now!

The art of listening

The art of listening

The art of listening

Communicating isn't that easy. So, how can you increase your listening prowess?

Watch the video below for some simple tips.

Understanding the elements of listening

  1. Stop physically
  2. Stop mentally
  3. Compartmentalise
  4. Completely attend to the other person
  5. Quiet your mental acrobatics

Power and Next

Power and Next

I have been thinking about Next. The Next that will be facing you, me, all of us.

The ‘Next’ that will emerge from pain and struggle of COVID19.

I have been thinking:

  • What will ‘next’ look like?
  • How will I adjust?
  • How will I ensure I hold onto the new importance that has emerged for me during this COVID19 time?
  • What learnings must I ensure I don’t lose sight of?
  • And how can I not fall back into ways that I have got rid of when I return to the spaces that will feel like the ‘comfort zone’?

What does Next look like?

Perhaps it is like New Year’s Resolution?

Actually, that is flippant and meaningless for some of us who went through the “fire storm” of NYE 2020. I don’t want to get too heavy, but I certainly don’t want to be light and frivolous.

Let me step through some of the tips that are helping me with my thoughts of understanding my power and ‘Next’.

Reconnect with your Why

My passion for my work was born out of September 11 and I have had time to look back at my progress and my achievements during ‘iso’. I have had time to look forward and see “what else” but mostly I have held in my hands and had a good look at my why, my purpose, my passion and it remains the same.

Do you know your why?

Does your why shine during your day-to-day? Can you see your why connecting with those you will restart sharing your day-to-day with? And what about the different spaces some of may find ourselves in; can you make sure you can see and feel your purpose?

Dust off your core values

I have been dusting off my core values these last couple of weeks because affectus has been facilitating a number of values workshops.

It is wonderful to see people exploring the concept of core personal values. And then to consider and plan about how to have conversations with others that may share the same values or may have different values.

I believe starting with values when we begin to reconnect is important personally, professionally and (dare I say it) globally.

If you are unsure of your core values please get in touch and we can take you and your workteam can help you with Values. There is so much power to be drawn on through knowing your values.

Know your responses

How have you responded during this time of crisis, challenge, bumpy ride?

I have re-identified that I like to think about things not for a long time. I’m not totally a contemplative person, but if a significant concept is being considered I like to think and then to respond and write and find a process.

I now have great insight and personal knowledge about me that I will take forward to assist me and others.

How do you respond?

What is your way of connecting with a complex concept?

Can you sense the personal power you have at your disposal by just knowing this?

Establish your needs

This is a tricky one but…

If you want Next to be brighter for you (and those that you share your day-to-day with) then being honest, open and generous with your needs is a good move.

I have found this a time of deeply understanding my needs around my why and at the same time being more empathetic and aware of the people that I care about. My needs are challengingly intertwined with everyone else’s needs. I don’t want all of those needs to become a complete mess so by getting my needs clear I will assist us all.

Have you established your needs and are you ready to work with others needs Next?

Find your power

I love the concepts of personal and positional power. It is interesting to understand that unless you have given yourself time to explore the concept of personal power then it is often a very blurry concept.

I can feel my personal power wax and wane. However, by knowing my power I am able to give myself a bit of a talking to when I feel it dissipating and I can mentally call on it and most times it returns to me. But I have become aware, during this time of pandemic, that my personal power overwhelm others.

I think that understanding the power that you have and the power you can call upon is so important as we move to Next.

Next may look somewhat familiar or not at all familiar or anywhere in between. But knowing the power that you can draw on will be very useful when you step into Next.

Have the conversations.

Golly now that is glib and I know that’s easier said than done. I know, however, if there was ever a time where you can bring self-knowledge and deeper understanding to conversations about you and Next this will is the time.

It will be easy to chat, easy to be light. It is important that we have the courageous conversations. To think through the why, what, who how and when.

We should all be aware to the importance of having the conversations. Ppeople holding leadership positions should be aware of the conversations to be had and should be making space and opportunities.

Next is not going to be simple or linear.

Next may be wobbly, foggy and unsure. But I am looking for better.

Next can be better. Because, if we each use our self-awareness and access our personal power we can have the important conversations from a position and ‘Next’ will be better.

Head to Lockdown leadership it will help you with Next also. Click through to Lockdown Leaders for practical and useful materials, workshops and information.


Values and Courage

Values and courage

When I think of courage I think of having a strong sense of purpose. But what underpins that courageous purpose?

Well what we know is the basic building block for all of that forward motion is values – personal values.

Values that may not be apparent but nevertheless are part of our decision-making processes.

My values comes from many areas of my lived experience, my parents, my sisters, people I have admired, responses to knowledge gained and experiences had.

What are your core values? Where have they come from? How do your values connect and mesh with those you share your life with?

Essential steps

There are seven essential steps that we have identified to assist you surface your values.

  1. Understand a simple values framework and consider where your values tend to fit.
  2. Reflect on the history of your values – who has given you all or some of your values.
  3. Identify your core values.
  4. Review the “appearance” of your values during times of disruption.
  5. Understand how your values are a “coverall” for your day-to-day activities.
  6. Examine the connection of your values to other’s values.
  7. Develop a communication process that allows for discussion of values.



What are values?

Values are the principles that help you to decide what is right and wrong. These principles, in turn, guide your actions, behaviours and thinking in various situations.

The most useful starting point when surfacing and sorting your values is to find the words that match the principle.

Words like these:


Values workshop

Affectus has a simple one-hour Values to Guide Your Through workshop scheduled for 28 April 2020.

It will help you identify your core values and develop a process to allow these values to guide you through. Additionally, you will be provided with a simple structure for conversations about values.

If you choose not to join the online workshop I encourage you to surface your values, develop some conversational processes to share, and discuss your core values with those who share your (COVID19) life.

It will assist you to get through this challenging time – and beyond.

Finally, and repeating something mentioned above, what I know is the basic building block for all of that forward motion is values – personal values.

By identifying your values you will have a strong foundation to move courageously forward.