Personal Power V/S Positional Power

As the popular idiom goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and it is assumed that power comes with experience, wisdom, trust from people around us and in the context of the workplace, the position. But powers can be of various kinds of; a manager, or executive or any upper-level management can be said to have ‘positional power’. Their power to undertake tasks, to delegate, to act as a representative, to make key decisions comes from their position. As the term suggests, it is a hierarchy-based power. That is one type of power, called the positional power.  

There is another type of power, what one might call ‘personal power’. As the name suggests, such a power can be harnessed at a more personal level. Personal power comes from the recognition of power in oneself; the power to take responsibility and to have a sense of purpose; the power to believe in oneself and one’s competence. Recognition of personal power in oneself leads to recognition by others of that same power. It is personal power that enables your colleagues to trust you and see you as a pillar in times of conflict.

Ultimately, regardless of whether you have the positional power, it is the personal power that makes you a leader. Positional power can make you a manager on paper, but without harnessing your personal power, becoming a manager who leads, is almost an impossibility.

So, what are some ways one can harness this personal power and light up the spark of leadership and self-belief?

Have a Growth Mindset: This is a buzzword we all have heard at some point. But it’s really a simple concept, and once we realise this, it becomes an obvious mindset to have. Growth mindset means a mindset where you are curious to know more; where you see every day and every interaction an opportunity to grow your understanding. It includes the acceptance that you may be wrong or that you can’t be the expert in everything, but that nevertheless you always, always learn.

Be it upper-level management or an entry level position, curiosity and a willingness to listen is a definitely power. A manager with a growth mindset, curious and willing to listen, encourages new ideas, a myriad of voices, allowing the team members to speak up without hesitation. Contrast this someone who doesn’t listen, or someone who only listens to a select few. The former would definitely have more of the personal power, with the recognition and trust from the team that ‘Yes, this person will listen to my ideas respectfully.’ 

Have a Purpose: Having a sense of purpose it under-rated. To quote an article by People Matters:

‘Being connected to a greater purpose enables you to use your power effectively. The sense of meaning and mission in life means you don’t get caught up in momentary dramas. Your day isn’t a matter of ticking items off your to-do list, but of connecting your every action to your greater goal. Having purpose gives you resilience; you’re more able to reset after failure because you have a north star guiding you. 

Purpose directs us under crisis and extreme stress.’

It is this ‘north-star’ of the greater goal that helps you to harness your power without falling into the vices of office politics and petty issues.

Close to having a sense of purpose is the next point.

Have a Sense of Focus: With positional power comes the responsibility of the need to tick off multiple tasks, of having multiple to-do lists, spanning across departments.

It is important to respond to the right issues. To quote the People Matters article again,

‘Without the capacity to direct your attention, you are a leaf in the wind, blown about every which way. You respond to everything but accomplish nothing…you must quiet the inner and outer voices and develop your emotional self-regulation, so you don’t react to every little thing. And above all, you must set boundaries to have time to think, reflect, and contemplate.’

 Creating priority lists, with urgent to important spectrums defined, delegating tasks which often act as incentives, are some ways one can develop this sense of focus.

Have a Sense of Responsibility: And finally, personal power cannot be ignited without a sense of responsibility. Whether you have positional power or not, a sense of responsibility to grow, to help others grow, to learn and help others learn is essential to feel powerful and not feel like a victim of circumstances, where power might feel like something thrust upon you.

A willingness to take charge regardless of one’s position enables you see opportunities even in tricky situations. Such a sense of responsibility is the key to acknowledging your power to make tiny to big changes, and to be the change.

Positional power is designated, whereas personal power comes from within, and that is the beauty of it- irrespective of the status on paper, you can always be in charge of your own destiny by igniting the personal powers of growth, purpose, focus, and responsibility.

Should Startups Hire Recruitment Firm?

People often have strange ideas about startups. They feel that it is something out-of-the-world where there is no room for the conventional thinking process. Yes, the startups are certainly different than others, but they are also required to follow some of the conventional concepts while defining the operational framework.

Imagine a situation where you are the entrepreneur. You want to launch a startup venture which is based on some offbeat concept.  In spite of it, you must follow some of the conventional concepts such as keeping the HR function in the organization.  Team HR in your company will manage everything about the human resources. Apart from it, the team will ensure process and compliance.

What if you don’t have HR in the organization?

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When people tend to avoid HR just to do something different without any rationale, the result is not pleasing either.  Apart from the challenges of managing the workforce, there will be a plethora of problems.

  • The rapid growth of workforce becomes a challenge since there are no processes and procedures. Since the HR function is non-existent, you don’t have anybody to take ownership of it.
  • Studies say that companies that ignore the HR function (or fail to take it seriously) are very likely to falter within five years of their life. If you look at the reasons behind their failure, then ignoring HR is amongst the top three.

However, you may take the decision of not having an in-house HR function initially. It may be a stop gap arrangement till you establish in the market.  In such a situation, you should seek help from a recruitment firm.

How does a recruitment firm add value?

You are relieved from the hassles of recruitment process

If you decide to keep the HR function lean and thin, then it is a big challenge to manage the recruitment process effectively. You need to read hundreds of the application forms and arrange them in the order of experience. Whether you follow the conventional method of paper-based scrutiny or read the soft version on the computer screen, the task is equally cumbersome.

When the recruitment firm does it for you, the task becomes manageable and simple.  Since you get only selected profiles matching to the requirement specifications given by you, the time and efforts put by the HR team are saved.

The benefit of connections

Whether you are a startup company or an established business house, you need to hire people for top levels. It is impossible to hire them without a strong network of connections because profiles of senior people do not get float openly. You need to approach them through some link.

When you hire a recruitment firm, you can connect to the people who are looking for better career prospects. Because of the intricate networking, recruitment firms are in a better position than the in-house HR team to find out profiles of senior people.

Interview process becomes handy

In spite of so many advancements in the recruitment process, the importance of personal interaction is unbeaten. The success rate of the interview process is measured by the quality of candidates hired. Remember, professional recruitment firms know the tricks of identifying superior candidates.

However, it is very much important to brief the recruitment agency about the organizational fit and the organizational culture. Even a good agency delivers a mediocre job if the requirement is not explained well. You should search people who gel with the vision, mission, and ethos of your company.

You are a startup company and not a brand that will attract great talent

Every big organization has a brand value that attracts the best people in the market. When you are a startup company, you don’t have a brand identity. Imagine yourself in the shoes of the candidate, and you will realize it. When a recruitment firm talks to people on your behalf, it places the job profile in a systematic and impressive manner. Thus, you have brighter chances of hiring good quality talent.

Nowadays, everyone explores the online world for assessing the quality and reliability of the employer. When candidates approach the recruitment firm through social media or read about the company profile and job details; they get better convinced. It is impossible when you do it in-house.

Experts say that the benefits achieved by hiring expert recruitment company compensate the expenses incurred in hiring them. Hence, it is a profitable business proposition.

Tap the prospective talents only

When the top and bottom lines are stretched because of cost pressures, you should spend every penny wisely. Studies say that in the conventional method of recruitment, a large percentage of resources gets wasted in tapping the applicants (who may not be interested in joining or not suitable to your needs) and not the prospective talents.  Thus, you spend a sizeable time in scrutinizing, matching and assessing the candidates. The efforts go waste.

When you assign the task to a recruitment agency, it uses a profound process that filters out unwanted or unmatched candidates. You talk to a prospective employee who is looking for a change.  A pre-selection criterion saves great efforts.

Last, but not the least; you save cost as well!

Undoubtedly, hiring a recruitment firm is cost-effective than managing the task of recruitment in-house. Having said it, you need a profound team of HR officials to monitor it.  Also, you are supposed to allocate considerable budget initially, it pays off in the long run, though.

Since all of the tasks related to recruitment are managed by an expert, your in-house team gets a lot of productive time for other important stuff. The mundane task of hiring people can be managed by the recruitment firm effectively. It possesses a team of HR experts who can scrutinize and shortlist candidates effectively.

Conclusion

You have a plethora of critical things to do when you launch a startup organization. Don’t waste your valuable time and energy in the recruitment process. Hire a service provider who takes care of everything well.