"She was lying there on the floor and everybody was staring at her," one man said. "I suggested that we call 911 , but everybody ignored me. Then another man walked in, saw her on the floor, said 'gee, someone should call an ambulance' and all of a sudden every cell phone came out." He chuckled. "I'd said that two or three times, but it took ten minutes and a remark from somebody they were willing to listen to before anybody helped the poor woman."
The lady was alright, but that comment made me think. It seems that all of us have either the Power of Knowledge of the Power of Authority. The key to making life easier is finding out which one you're gifted with and rolling with it.
Let me explain. Have you noticed that there are some people that everyone will follow to the end of the earth? Every word they say is gospel truth and nobody questions then (even in circumstances when they're dead wrong and people should know better). Most people call them "natural leaders" but the truth is that they have what I call the "Power of Authority." There's something about them that causes people to listen to and follow them. People with the power of authority seem to excel in positions like business, medicine, mental health, law, teaching and politics because people are drawn to them and to believing that what they say is truth. They may or may not really know their head from a hole in the ground, but there's something about their demeanor that attracts people to listen to them and do what they say. These are the ones that everybody asks for advice from. They lead and others follow, but you don't dare bring them down to the masses.
On the other hand, there are people like me. I get asked for information and directions more than any person I know. In fact, there were two occasions recently where a total stranger blew right past 10 people and came straight to me to ask for directions. The people with me even commented that they passed several others that could have helped them, but they seemed to target me. It's not just directions either - I get asked all manner of questions all the time. I even put something on my Twitter feed last night saying I had to find out what it was about me that inspired the inquisitiveness in people because I get pounded with questions more than anybody I know. I definitely have the Power of Knowledge, because people seem to target me as their source of information. Ah, but there is a line I better not cross. For example, if someone asks for directions and I say "here's the most direct route, but I know a better way that will bypass traffic," they'll hold up a hand and say "no, no. That's ok. I just want to know how to get there." (Obviously, it's happened many times.) They make it very clear that I'm not the boss of them. They just want information, thank you very much. They'll process and apply the information I provide the way THEY choose. People with the power of knowledge tend to excel in areas like administration, the arts, entertainment, managing money (accounting), and assistant positions where they're the brains behind the people with the Power of Authority to keep them in check while the world follows them. These are the people with the brains and insight that you want to collaborate with on your teams.
I'm not sure what elusive thing it is that determines whether you have the Power of Authority or the Power of Knowledge, but I do know that it's best to know which you have and to go with it. Because you aren't going to get the other no matter how hard you try. Trust me, I've never won an elected position - hell, I've never even been nominated. But I've slapped away so many invitations to serve on committees and in organizations that I've lost count. See, I'm invited, not elected. And that's a good way to know which you have.
There are other ways too. What happens when people ask you for advice? If they don't do it or if they immediately disregard it and do something completely different, you're a Power of Knowledge person (they were asking to collect information). If they do it, you're a Power of Authority.
Here's another one. What kinds of questions do people ask you? Do they ask you for advice and how to do things? You're a Power of Authority. Do they ask for general information or "do you know" or "have you heard of" type of questions? You're a Power of Knowledge.
And here's the best indicator: How often do people ask you for directions? If never or rarely (and they're so befuddled when you're done that they ask someone else), you're a Power of Authority. If your like me and you become the world's personal GPS the minute you leave your driveway, well, I think you get it.
It amazes me that personality tests seem to miss this critical component of personality, because it is important. It's a good indicator of how your personality meshes with your place in the world.
So, which type are you? Think it over. You might be surprised.
That's all today. More later.