Power by definition is the ability to recognize and realize the potential of whatever position you are in. The Conviction and Connection model of power shows the fine point where the self-oriented (conviction) and the other-oriented (connection) dimensions meet.
Conviction is defined as having a clearly defined position and being both willing and able to communicate it. Connection is the ability to listen, empathize, understand, and care about another person’s point of view (Purcell, 2013). There are two extremes for conviction. One extreme is the rigid position in which there is no conflict because ‘I AM RIGHT’. In the other extreme, it is wishy-washy like a wet bar soap. There is no conflict here, but the leader is un-reliable, incompetent and non-trustworthy. For connection, there are two extremes as well. One extreme is the cut-off where the person unplugs, shows attitude and try to avoid others. In the other extreme, the person is too curious about and over-accommodating others that raise eyebrows and suspicion.
There can be moments in our work life where we may not have a clearly defined position during the project discussions and incidents where we care more about others’ positions so as not to hurt their feelings. In order to become powerful, or cultivate leadership traits, one needs to move away from these extremes and find the right balance of both conviction and connection. Even when we have a clearly defined position, if we are not willing to effectively communicate that, it will be a clear case of under-conviction. In the similar way, if we do not listen to or clarify others’ positions by taking an indifferent approach, we will not be able to connect with them at all. True leaders always strive to find the right balance between conviction and connection.