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The Power Perception Matrix


Explanations > Power > The Power Perception Matrix

My perception | Others' perception | The Power Perception Matrix | So what?


What power you have depends not so much on what power you actually have but what power you and other believe you have.

My perception

Sometimes people have direct power in terms of resources they can control, but more important is the perception they have of their power.

If I believe I have power then others may believe me. If I believe I have little power I may be doing myself a disservice by giving it away.

Others' perception

Beyond direct control, your power is very largely based on what others accept, so their perception of your power is important.

If people believe you have power, then that belief is power handed to you on a plate. If they do not believe you have power, then you may yet be able to convince them.

The Power Perception Matrix

The Power Perception Matrix maps your perception of your power against the perception that other people have of your power.


Power Perception

Powers others believe...
...I have ...I do not have

Powers I believe...

...I have
...I do not have


Confirmed power

If both you and others believe you have power, then you most certainly do have it and will not be challenged when you use it.

Wasted power

When you believe you do not have power and yet others believe that you do, then if you can see their belief then you can grasp the power that they afford you. If, however, you focus on your own belief then that power will be wasted.

Hidden power

If you are sure you have power but other people do not think you have that power, it may well be because they do not know about it. For example you may have influence with senior managers that they have not realized.

If you are wrong in your belief, then your power is illusory and will fail in practice.

Unknown power

If both you and they believe you do not have power then this will effectively be true, even though you may yet have power in the areas of consideration.

Whether or not you actually do have power, your disbelief and their affirmation of this will most likely lead to you not using that power.

So what?

Understand the difference between power you actually have, power you believe you have and power that others think you have. Where there are gaps, work out how to handle this.




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