How is influence different from power?

Status and power are not the same

There are various factors that influence the social fabric - not only at work, but also in other situations: Two are particularly important Status and power. They play a major role in almost every social interaction, even if we are not always aware of this influence: They decide whether a person can prevail, whether others are willing to follow them and rely on their judgment. However, status and power must not be lumped together, because the Differences are bigger than you might think - and with it the effects in the social world ...

Status and Power: What's the Difference?

At first glance they are Concepts of status and power similar, which is primarily due to their consequences: Regardless of whether status or power, whoever has one of the two can influence other people - to a certain extent. Better than other people who don't have it. In the eyes of many, this commonality is sufficient to Terms incorrectly synonymous to use.

The decisive factor, however, is not the effects, but the ones Causes of status and power, because here lies the important difference that is too often overlooked, but is clearly defined by scientists:

status describes the respect and appreciation that others show a person. It thus describes the value that a person has earned in a social network and arises from the assessment of outsiders. In other words: You cannot give yourself status, but rather it is offered to you by those around you.

This is exactly where it differs fundamentally from the concept of Makes. This is basically about the ability to assert one's own interests, even if those around you disagree. This can happen in different ways, for example by using a threat to enforce one's own goals. However, power can also result from sole access to a resource - such as raw materials or information.

In other words, one could also say: Status arises when one rises in the respect of others through one's personality or one's performance. Power, on the other hand, can be bestowed on anyone without the need for a form of respect or recognition of the social environment or society. Status has to be earned, power is sometimes given as a gift.

The differences can result in several constellations of status and power, all of which have individual effects on social contacts:

  • Power coupled with status. Those who have both power and status can use both to exert their influence. You can either invoke your power and assert your views, or you can use your status to convince others.
  • Power without status. In the absence of status, power alone can still be enough to get one's own way. However, you often do not make friends because you have authority, but only control the others.
  • Status without power. Even without power you can function as a leader if the status, i.e. the respect and reputation in the social environment, is right.

Of course, there is also the case that there is no power or status. This does not have to stay that way, however, because with the necessary effort you can work out your status. The same applies of course when the power is there, because status makes a big difference in that Perception of a person. Those who exercise their power without having status are often perceived by others as selfish, stubborn or simply uncomfortable.

The reactions to this are mostly similar: if someone we don't respect tells us what to do, we react with dislike and disdainful behavior. The problem: this is one Vicious circle. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that people with power take advantage of it more often and more drastically when it is not valued by others - that is, they lack status.

It doesn't have to be that difficult to develop a status for yourself. With these three simple ways, for example:

Work out a status: This is how it works

  1. Show your knowledge

    In your job, in particular, you can use a great deal of specialist knowledge to gain recognition from colleagues, customers or even the boss. With the appropriate competence, you will quickly receive a status and you know that you can always come to you with questions or problems in order to receive a qualified answer.

  2. Get involved

    You can earn the respect and appreciation of your fellow human beings through hard work. Those who are always fully committed, give their best and infect others with their motivation will be appreciated by them for exactly that.

  3. Help others

    The way you deal with other people also plays a major role in your status. Especially helpfulness goes down very well with fellow human beings and ensures that you increase in their appreciation. However, the focus should really be on help. Helping others to be perceived in a better light does the opposite.

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