By Robert Pagliarini

Do you want more power? I've never heard anyone answer that by saying, "Um, no, thank you. I really have more power and confidence than I need." Of course you want more power. Why? Because power is essential for employment and career growth. It leads to monetary wealth and longevity, and it can improve your ability for achievement. In a population where the national unemployment rate is at 9.1 percent and 55 percent of Americans who are employed are dissatisfied with their work, what can you do to empower yourself to live a better life and achieve career success?

I'm glad you asked! I recently had a conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organizational Business at Stanford and an expert on power -- what it is, why you want it, and most importantly, how to get more of it. In my interview with Dr. Pfeffer, he reveals why power is so important in organizational environments and how it separates CEOs at the top of the corporate food chain from everyone else. Discussing his latest book "Power: Why Some People Have It -- And Others Don't," Dr. Pfeffer reveals the personality qualities that build power, how you can become more effective and influential in organizational environments, and what you need to do to achieve the success you desire. Whether you're unemployed, looking to attain greater success in your current position or working to maintain the power you've already achieved, Dr. Pfeffer covers it all.

Q: I'd like to talk to you about this whole "fake it until you make it" idea. Can someone exhibit power externally, while internally feeling completely fearful?

Dr. Pfeffer: Sure. Here's an interesting thing about faking it until you make it. A colleague at another university named Dana Carney and some of her friends did a very interesting study in which she had had subjects come into the lab. In some cases she said, "I want you to adopt a high power pose." A high power pose is with your arms and legs spread -- you take up a lot of space is basically the quickest way to describe it. And for other people, these people were randomly assigned to adopt a low power pose where your shoulders and neck are hunched in, and you basically take up less space, kind of curling in on yourself. And not only did they feel psychologically different, the people who adopted a high power pose felt more powerful. But moreover, more interesting, she had done blood tests on these people as they came in, and, after adopting a high power pose, their level of cortisol (which is a stress hormone) went down and their level of testosterone went up -- the reverse for the people who were randomly assigned to be at a low power pose. So, it's not just that how you look and act affects how you feel and your confidence, it actually affects your blood chemistry.

Q: That is such an amazing insight; I think some people may miss it because it is so profound. You're saying that by simply changing the way you move your body, or changing the way you stand or sit, you actually create more power, more self-control and that this can actually have a physiological change on your body. To me that is just so remarkable!

Dr. Pfeffer: Yes! You can fake it till you make it, that's for sure.

It turns out mom was on to something when she said to sit up straight and to put your shoulders back. The next time you are feeling less than confident, ask yourself what someone with power and confidence would do, and then do that. It might feel unnatural at first, but it's not faking it if it really works.

For more tips and strategies on how to increase your confidence and power, listen to Dr. Pfeffer's "Power" interview now at


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Careers - Do One Simple Thing to Immediately Increase Your Power

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