Power In Business

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Power is a stronger motivator than money for most people.  Power is the desire to have impact, to have influence, to effect change, to make things happen and to choose to change.  Power is also the ability to achieve objectives and get results.  Does that sound like a business owner to you?

Entrepreneurs may be motivated by the need to control their own destiny and be their own boss.  As a Business Broker for many years, I have heard that reason to buy a business more than any other.  Studies have found respect, interesting work, recognition, skill development, ability to have opinions heard, creativity, results, efficiency, challenges and being well-informed are motivators for people.  Working hard and doing a good job may not be enough to gain a promotion or see the ability to move up in a large business, so buying a business takes care of those needs.

Powerful people have certain qualities: 

  • Visibility.  They are noticed by others.
  • Credibility.  They consistently get the job done and live up to their word.
  • Enthusiasm.  They operate with a high level of energy.
  • Autonomy.  They can make decisions on their own authority.
  • Perspective.  They see the whole picture rather than focus on details.

There are five basic powers that should affect you as a business owner.  Position power or legitimate power is the ability to exercise authority because you are the owner of the business, the employees work for you and they know you have that power.  Reward power is the ability to give positive reinforcement.  You can recognize, reward or reinforce employees, and sometimes it motivates more than money, as it provides satisfaction to be appreciated.  Coercive power is the power to punish or the opposite of reward power.  While positive reinforcement may be more effective, some situations require negative behavior modification, even firing.  Expert power comes from technical competence.  As the owner of the business, you have that power in most things; but an employee who is an expert in computers, the internet, etc. may have that power.  Remember, as a business owner, you don’t have to be an expert at everything; you just need to hire the best people to help you.  Referent power can also be called charisma.  A business owner with referent power has employees who are drawn to the business owner’s personality.

Here are some strategies for building power:

  • Build relationships with employees by being friendly without necessarily becoming serious friends.
  • Establish credibility by being a person of your word.
  • Keep a professional attitude Keep at all times.
  • Take pride in every task to gain a reputation for high quality.
  • Negotiate from a position of strength.
  • Realize long-term applications of decisions and statistics.
  • Use preparation so you do not have to panic.

Your job as business owner is more powerful if you have few rules, few routines, tangible rewards, visibility, and include employees in problem solving.

The following motives for power may help you understand your employees as you work with them:

  • Affiliation motivates people based on relationships with other people. These people want to please others and interact with them.  They are happiest working with a group.
  • Achievement or competency motivates people who want to always be the best, break the record or be first to arrive.  These people are goal oriented and like to work alone. They focus on the challenge rather than the result.
  • Power itself is a motivator. These people want to influence other people.  In a group, they want to be a leader. 

As a business owner, you have the freedom to hire the people with whom you will work.  You also have the power to train them or try to improve them if they have difficulty doing the job to your satisfaction.  You also have the power to fire them and hire others who are better qualified.  Enjoy your business ownership! 

  • Author: Pat Jones
  • Title: President/Owner - Business Broker
  • Company: Pat Jones Business Brokers
  • Date: April 19, 2018
  • Category: Buying a Franchise or Business
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