Huffington Post Guest Article: Putting Your Power to Work: 500 Years of Advice for Today's Woman

07/19/2013

There is no shortage of advice for professional women in the today's consumer and business media. Whether we are being told to "lean in," pick up seven new habits or even imitate male power plays, we are living in a time when there is much written about the analysis of power, and how to attain it, but very little has been said about what to do with power once secured. Some of the most adroit and timeless thinking on power was captured by Niccolò Machiavelli, a well-known 16th century diplomat and philosopher, who hung out with the Medici family and wrote The Prince which is widely considered to be the cornerstone book on how to effectively use power. Many of us have seen Machiavelli's principles used "effectively" in various political environments and even in some businesses. But can these principles provide any guidance to assist women leaders in retaining, projecting and enhancing their leadership roles?

The term "Machiavellian" conjures up thoughts of scheming, cunning, duplicity, narcissism, self-aggrandizement and tyranny -- not necessarily what women, or anyone for that matter, want to be known for in the workplace. Machiavelli is often misquoted as advocating the principle that the "ends justify the means." But by routinely dismissing his tenets, are we missing opportunities and not playing the same game that others employ? There is so much in his writings and perhaps they can provide guidance for women in the current business world.

Excerpted from the Huffington Post, July 16, 2013. To view full article, click here.

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