Seven Personal Qualities That Help And One That Hinders Influence

Want to get ahead in your career? I hope so! If you do, you need to realize that success requires more than superior job performance – it also requires the ability to influence others. Part of becoming more influence requires understanding the most important qualities that make people influential, objectively assessing your strengths and weaknesses with respect to those qualities, and believing that you can change and continually improve.

In his evidence-based management book entitled “Power: Why some people have it and others don’t,” Jeffery Pfeffer identifies seven personal qualities that can help you build power:

The two fundamental dimensions that distinguish people who rise to great heights and accomplish amazing things are will, the drive to take on big challenges, and skill, the capabilities required to turn ambition into accomplishment. The three personal qualities embodied in will are ambition, energy, and focus. The four skills useful in acquiring power are self-knowledge and a reflective mindset, confidence and the ability to project self-assurance, the ability to read others and empathize with their point of view, and a capacity to tolerate conflict. (p. 43).

Intelligence is probably the single best predictor of job performance, but Pfeffer believes it is overrated as a quality for building personal power. While studies have shown a statistically significant correlation between intelligence and income, the effect size is very small.

Intelligence might even hinder your ability to influence others. People that think they are really smart can be seen by others as arrogant and aloof. People with an inflated view of their intelligence think they can do things better than everyone else, so they often don’t bother including others as they make decisions and develop strategies. Intelligence can also be intimidating, and “although intimidation can work for a while, it is not a strategy that brings much enduring loyalty.” (p. 56)

Obtaining influence is a worthy goal if you intend to use your power to help those you’ve been given the privilege to lead accomplish a shared purpose. If you understand what it takes to become more influential, and you are willing to put forth the effort and persevere and learn from setbacks, then you have a power reason to be hopeful for the future of your career.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Related Posts:


The Wholesome Use Of Power

If I Abuse Power, I Can Learn From Others And Change My Behavior

About Bret Simmons

Nevada Management Professor

Posted on December 12, 2011, in evidence-based management, organizational behavior and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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