The Use Of Power

You know the story, but briefly, in 1975, I was invited to speak to a group of dentists. My lecture and the following hour of questions led to an invitation to visit their offices to help them with their staff issues. While working with the doctors and their staff, it became clear that the doctors were at the root of their staff’s problems. 

The doctors’ communication with their staff was often condescending, like a parent communicating to a child or teachers to their students. What was missing was an adult and mutual relationship. This troubled me because I had been a boss/leader to many well-educated young people. I wondered how I related to them. I never checked and never knew, so I was totally blind, deaf, and dumb to my question.

I decided I needed to know more about communication, relationships, and, ultimately, power if I was going to help the doctors who employed me. I researched volumes on the subject and learned that nearly every relationship involved power in one way or another. 

I took a risk and told the professionals who hired me, “you are the problem and not your staff.” I also clarified that they needed to be a student just like their staff when I taught. That they needed to turn their power over to me when I lectured. Many did just that, but a few were simply unable to change their way of being in control. I dropped them as clients.

With the application of my newfound knowledge, successful changes and individual growth took place, as did my reputation. I was invited all over the country and worked with many professionals and a wide variety of entrepreneurs. In every instance, power was fundamental. It was never about giving it up, only how it was used.

Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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