Power-centred principles are often grafted secondarily on to a primary orientation. This combination offers a simple and expedient route to career satisfaction and progress. It seems that, in many cases, there really does not have to be more to a job than «working the system».
It is perfectly possible and permissible for your career-development to stop at this stage—and without in any way limiting your ambitions. You can build a successful career within this mode: moving up the career ladder, often within the same company. You may seem like an «organization man» to some, but you can organize your work-life to be secure, established and respected.
Your job focus means that you are unlikely to be too deflected or tempted by power itself. However, there will be temptations. So be careful at all times and concentrate on what power can do as a constructive tool in your hands. Your management approach will tend to be pragmatic i.e. action-oriented, doing what is obvious, following accepted ways, avoiding complex analysis, handling people shrewdly, and shifting your position rapidly as the situation changes or in line with pressures from powerful sources.
How far up the organization you go will depend mainly on your inherent abilities as well as circumstances, but in principle there is no limit. Many like you have reached the top. To be safe, take counsel from your superiors and colleagues. Know and accept your limitations rather than fall victim to the Peter Principle (= agreeing to pay and promotion beyond your level of competence). It is far better to be an effective middle manager than a failed general manager; and far better to be a strong general manager than a weak chief executive.
Borderline competence is not only depressing but stress-generating, it makes you defensive, angry, harsh with subordinates, miserable &/or physically ill.
Even if you settle here, it is advisable to explore this career trajectory further. It can help you understand the careers of others in your work-place: including some whom you will be expected to manage, advise or mentor.
This is a trickier one to self-manage. It may be obvious to you that this is where you are: but this is not always the case. You may think rather highly of yourself for good reasons: you are smart, you espouse ideals. Still you are probably primarily power-centred if ►
If you think you may be primarily power-centred, read more here.
If not, exercise some discretion and continue the journey.
Originally posted: July 2009