11 Characteristics of Powerful People You Can Cultivate
Whether it’s a political leader, high-ranking military official or successful startup founder, there’s a common thread that ties these powerful individuals together. While timing, hard work and passion are all prevalent, powerful people also possess the following 11 habits.
Powerful people are confident -- which is a skill you can work on -- and people are naturally drawn to confident individuals. Because they are confident, powerful people aren’t afraid to tackle risks and challenges head-on. Additionally, confident individuals can appreciate small accomplishments, work on their communication skills, let go of the past and realize what’s most important.
2. Don’t seek fame and fortune.
Do you think Pope Francis seeks out fame and fortune? Of course not, and like Pope Francis, powerful people aren’t looking to flaunt their success. Instead, they focus on what matters most to their customers, company and community.
3. Take up more space.
A 2010 experiment conducted by psychologists Dana Carney and Amy Cuddy found that subjects who stayed in a position that took up more space for longer than one minute actually felt more powerful. This was caused by a biochemical reaction that increased testosterone and decreased cortisol.
4. Know when to speak.
Think of someone who doesn’t talk a whole lot but what they do say is useful, powerful and insightful. Powerful individuals know when to talk and what exactly to say at the right time. Also, by not speaking that much, it decreases their chance of saying something foolish.
5. Break eye contact.
You’ve probably heard that the best speakers and leaders make strong eye contact. It turns out that this isn’t exactly the case. Based on research by psychologists Frances Chen and Julia Minson, it was found that eye contact can actually be counterproductive because it lessens persuasion. Instead of looking into someone else’s eyes, leaders should look at their audience member’s mouth.
6. Aren’t afraid to endure criticism.
When you’re in a position of power, some of your decisions will be unpopular. Powerful people are not afraid of the backlash. If they were they could not take charge and do what’s best for their customers, company or community.
7. They look the part.
If you look at most leaders, what do they wear? Most wear professional clothes, not sneakers and hoodies (Mark Zuckerberg is one of a few exceptions). Powerful leaders set themselves apart from others by constantly dressing, speaking and acting like a distinguished professionals.
8. Team players.
Powerful people realize they’re part of a team with a designated role. While their role has more impact and responsibilities, they never undervalue the hard work of other team members.
9. They're flexible.
Life is unpredictable. Powerful people are able to make the right adjustments to solve the problem at hand. Being flexible doesn’t mean they’re pushovers. They just seek to handle situations.
10. Ask better questions.
Tony Robbins once said "Successful people ask better questions and, as a result, they get better answers." In fact, John Maxwell has written entire book on the subject. Powerful people ask astute questions to determine what’s best for their customers, company and community.
11. Pick a hard seat and carry heavy objects.
According to study published in Science, people who opted to sit in an uncomfortable chair become tougher at negotiating because the rigid sensation seems to lessen a shift in decisions. In the same study, it was also discovered that the subjects who were carrying heavier objects appeared to be more important.
Ready to take on the world? Use these tips to feel and become more powerful.