Power is a subject that is often avoided when it comes to hierarchy or relationships. This most certainly is due to our desire to stay in control of our situation. Something that doesn’t always seem to be possible when others exercise their power.
However, that is only true, when we fear situations in which others have power over us.
There are just as many situations in which people want others to take that power. This happens for example, when teams push decisions back to the leader, expecting him to decide. A move that is coupled with the desire to let go of the responsibility for that decision. It is an invitation to exercise his power over them.
That’s when power is given to the leader.
Exercising power over, thus is linked to someone’s personal needs. It can be the needs of the person exercising the power or the need of the person giving the power. The result amounts to the personal dominance of either of both. However, its source always is some form of anxiety.
A different type of power is the “power to”, which is about connection and passion. It demonstrates the ability to act as a catalyst to change, to make a difference. It serves a purpose that is of more general interest. At least the interest of those who can become aligned in that exercise of power.
The less alignment there is, the greater the risk that the use of power degenerates into abuse. However, when such an alignment exists it unleashes the potential for change.