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Alison working her way out of the doodoo of Do!Do!Do!”

Alison working her way out of the doodoo of Do!Do!Do!”

To say I get, er, enthusiastic about things is an understatement.

As a result, I live my life with a “Do! Do! Do!” attitude.

I have, what experts call, a case of “Active Power.”

Active power is the leaning toward always being the “Do! Do! Do!-er,” and/or the “Fixer.” We active power people are in the thick of the action at all times, obsessed with sweating the small stuff and always on the move (our feet, mouths, fingers or minds). We’re persistent and ready to take on risks if the reward is worth it.

However, I am starting to learn (as I age) that there is another type of power just as strong, especially in the workplace – receptive power.

Receptive power is observing, witnessing, actively listening and taking things in. Receptive power people let things percolate and often step back from a situation rather than diving in head (or mouth) first. These types of people show vulnerability, openness to other methods of getting things done, patience and can accept thanks from others graciously. Because they aren’t stuck in the thick of things, they have the ability to step back and take a look at the big picture now and then too.

Now, as soon as I heard about having to develop this thing called “patience,” I pretty much decided to just keep my active power thing going.

But, here is the thing.

“Do! Do! Do!” can sometimes back you feel like, well, doodoo. Active power is, at times, exhausting and stressful. It’s also very messy in the thick of everything all the time, and while in the thick of things, it’s hard to accept thanks or help from others. And, since not everyone shares my “Do! Do! Do!” mentality, focusing only on my active power can alienate, intimidate and turn people off to my suggestions and ideas (as brilliant as they are).

Kind of seems like those focused – as I am now – solely on active power have two choices down the line…heart attack or burning out.

Neither interested in having a heart attack nor burning out doing something that I love, I am thinking there might just be a place for some receptive power within myself.

I like to think of adding a little Zig to my Zag – or perhaps some “phew” to my “Do! Do! Do!”

Putting it out there to the blogosphere – do you think the best leaders are those with equal parts active and receptive? What type of power do you lean toward? What are some ways you have successfully adopted techniques and strategies to give both a seat at the table in your mind? Any great books on the topic I need to read?

Comment below.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio


  1. David Landis says:

    As a business owner, I think this is why it’s imperative to have a mix of talents on your staff: do-ers, thinkers, entertainers, provocateurs, analysts and creative types. It’s important to have all the bases covered. Cheers, David (President, LCI, San Francisco and President, Public Relations Global Network)

    • Alison Bailin says:

      Totally agree – and now thinking might be possible to have my major talent, but also some space for others as well.

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