Final summary

The key message in these blinks:

Having power isn’t enough. You have to know how and when to play it up or down depending on your goals and responsibilities. Sometimes, you’ll need to assert your power to protect others. This might mean taking charge in difficult situations, calling out abuses of power, or elevating those who’ll also use power to contribute to a shared mission. At other times, establishing trust and building relationships will take priority. This is when you’ll have to play power down by deferring to others or not taking yourself too seriously. While you won’t always feel capable of exerting power, by imagining different realities, rehearsing your part, and focusing on others or the bigger picture, you can find the confidence to own any role.

Actionable advice: 

Protect others by being a powerful upstander.

When you witness abuses of power, it often feels less risky to simply be a bystander. But if you make the choice to call out bad behavior, despite the personal risks, your actions will encourage others to do the same. So, the next time you see someone abusing their power, put yourself in the role of an actor on the stage, not someone in the audience. Intervene right there and then. If that’s not possible, offer your help afterwards.

Got feedback?

We’d love to hear what you think about our content! Just drop an email to with Acting with Power as the subject line and share your thoughts!

What to read next: Quiet, by Susan Cain

In these blinks, you discovered that while we expect powerful people to take up space and assert themselves, there’s also power in taking a more reserved approach. Similarly, the world has long put energetic and charismatic extroverts on a pedestal while mostly ignoring introverts. But, as it turns out, introverts are powerful in their own quiet way. To learn how both personalities can come into their power, head over to the blinks to Quiet.