Performance Psychology / Transformational Leadership through the Power of Agency


What is Agency?

“Agency is what human beings use to be in full command of their lives.”

Agency is the ability to act as an effective agent for yourself — getting your mind, body, and emotions in balance to think clearly, advocate effectively, and make decisions that further your business and life goals.

Power of Agency book

Science-backed, based on years of research and real-world application, The Power of Agency guides you to develop your “inner agent” to fully realize your leadership potential and become the author of your life —

  • Achieve clarity in problem solving to make effective decisions
  • Take on challenges and conquer obstacles with greater confidence at work and home
  • Remain in command under stress
  • Follow your own path, not the herd
  • Find your “agency voice”

Why is Leadership Agency Critical to Success?

We live in exceptional times — both the best of times and, in some ways, the worst. Things move fast. Daily overstimulation of our minds and increased life demands make it difficult to reflect deeply, make the best decisions, and successfully adapt. When leaders start losing their ability to adapt they stop learning and growing — and have a much harder time succeeding at their goals — and that’s when they lose agency.

Judgment and Influence are critical to every leader’s effectiveness. The capacity to make good decisions and to get others moving in the right direction is what separates the best from the rest. High-agency leaders know not just what they think, but how they think. They have insight into their own decision-making process. This ability to engage “metacognition” produces sound business judgment and makes it easier to guide and motivate others to achieve outstanding results.

A guiding principle of agency is that influence is always greatest when it is mutual – a two way street. If I am open to your influence, by definition, you will be more open to mine. The best leaders know this principle. And they consistently practice positioning themselves as learners in all their interactions. Doing so enriches the quality of their judgment and, at the same time, helps them achieve greater followership.

High Versus Low Agency Leaders

Upon close inspection, high-agency leaders operate in particular ways that make them more powerful in arriving at discerning judgments and reaching their goals. Leadership Agency is the capacity to act as an effective agent in the world – reflecting, thinking, making choices and behaving in ways that bring to life what a leader seeks to achieve. While a relatively simple concept to grasp, leadership agency requires certain ways of thinking and behaving be put into use.

Leaders with lower levels of agency often arrive at judgments through their personal belief systems rather than through critical thinking - and are typically not aware they are doing so. The speed of change in the world makes this a risky approach to leadership. It also explains why biased, poor quality decision-making is so prevalent. For leaders, developing the capacity to assess the quality of their thinking, and that of those around them, is a key differentiator. Once learned, it becomes a positive force that is multiplied as a leader practices it within their organization and teaches it to others.

Your level of agency as a leader affects all that you do, including how you feel about yourself. It is a vital, all-defining source of effective leadership. It is the fundamental concept of the book, The Power of Agency, and can be learned by leaders at all levels.

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