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Where is your leverage?


There are times in our lives when we experience a situation where we feel overwhelmed or not knowing what to do in moments of adversity. Such cases may occur in the workplace, relationships, or financial decisions that we encounter on a regular basis.  When those events occur, we find ourselves at a loss or disadvantage or not knowing what to do, or how to proceed. When considering the options of how to exist, you should consider your position of leverage.

Leverage is important as your position is unknowingly determined based on your level of understanding of the context of the situation. Failing to understand leverage places you at a distinct disadvantage resulting in you making poor or questionable decisions based on your lack of familiarity or understanding about the situation or event. I often speak of leverage as a critical element in how you manage your business and affairs.  When assessing your situation, understand where you stand, as well as the archetypes of leverage that exist.

You often experience situations where you must know where do you stand on a particular matter. If you are an employee of a company or organization, not knowing the company policies or procedures weakens your position of leverage when you wish to discuss individual personnel issues.  Depending on the employer or supervisor, the consistency of enforcement may not be present; however, once that individual decides to implement the policy, your position is weakened because you failed to follow the rules and procedures that are in place.

Another example of leverage may involve your knowledge, or lack thereof, involving your financial position. Preparing to buy a home or car is more complicated than most people think.  Although, you may not be an expert in financial matters, developing a baseline understanding of what you are buying goes a long way in determining if you are making a solid move financially or not.  Allowing someone else to dictate the terms or placing you in an unfavorable financial situation often occurs due to lack of knowledge about the process or knowing what other viable options exist.

Understanding leverage applies in your relationships with others as well. Application of leverage in this situation does not necessarily mean that you must be the dominant person in a relationship; however, knowledge is power. If you are in a position of strength, you have more options available than someone who lacks leverage. For example, if you are staying with someone because of you cannot afford to move somewhere else at the time being weakens your position, and allows that individual to essentially set the tone as to what you can and cannot do. As children, we often heard from our parents that “under our house, our rules.” When you move out, you shifted leverage in a way that you set your rules, and do as you please. 

Establishing leverage comes from being able to create a balance between two parties. Communication between two sides is often two-way between receiver and sender.  Once the message becomes dominated by one party, the other party loses leverage, and control of the conversation.  To have a balanced discussion, seek to find ways to create a balanced conversation. Although in some positions you must respect the other party based on position or process, you should also command respect by keeping the communication fair, balanced, and on even-footing.

I often encourage others personally to attempt to understand everything that affects your general well-being.  Whether it is financial, employment, relationships, or networking, seek to learn as much as possible because it affects directly or indirectly.  Cultivating knowledge is essential in your overall development as a person.  Expanding your knowledge also expands additional options available for you to consider in your decision-making. In conclusion, remember that no matter what you are doing or your situation, always ask yourself, where is your leverage?