My study of power will cease when I cease. It’s an amazing subject and yet means absolutely nothing until we barely know of it except through the violence of nature or its abuse by humankind. Important to emphasize that when nature does its regular daily routine of sun up and sun down, gentle rain, gentle breeze, etc we may acknowledge its gift to us or simply not think about it. This is also true of power when in the hands of humans. As long we are not affected by people in power we hardly take notice. We do our thing. But add abuse or empowerment to the mixture and differences are equivalent to day and night.
This paper, and perhaps a few to follow, is about power in the hands of people and my being witness to its blind abuse and damage to significant relationships, or when used to empower. This happened to me when I was totally unprepared. I certainly prepared for the job I was employed to do and that is to assist leaders of businesses (professional and otherwise) to develop the best possible, productive relationship between leader and followers.
It was during workshops that I experienced the blatant or subtle use of power most leaders exercised over their employees. I also witnessed the few leaders that empowered the people that worked for them. More importantly for me I could not miss the vast difference in behavior that resulted from misuse of power and those being empowered by their leader. (“What kind of leader was I?) This thought kept popping up in my mind to the point that I had to investigate.
I spoke to a good number of my (years ago co-workers) staff and Inner Circle members and asked them to tell me “what kind of leader was I?” What I heard is that I empowered people to be all they were capable of being. I nurtured this in them. (Music to my ears)
This gave me the impetus to learn as much about power and empowerment as possible. How does this take place? Is it words alone; is it behavior; is it a mix of words and behavior? What conditions help people grow? Did I contribute to others realizing their potential? Is having power that powerful? Sy