The Changing Nature Of Power In Leadership
Updated: Feb 24
This thought leadership piece is reworked from the original article.
The world needs a mindset upgrade when thinking of the dynamic of Power – Power in leadership, certainly, as well as in our own relationship with Power as individuals and in our societies overall.
In the traditional business world where “Winners take all”, the predominant leadership style has been hierarchical command and control, force and coercion, and domination and exploitation.
This leadership style is now being called “toxic leadership” or “toxic masculinity” because it values and practices ‘power over,’ which is based on and motivated by scarcity and fear tactics, and it perpetuates inequality, injustice, and exclusion.
Power Over Has Brought Us to the Brink of Extinction
This way of expressing Power is rooted in the belief that Power is a finite resource held only by people in power positions, indicating that only a select number of people have Power and the rest are powerless. This is the main aspect and dominant foundation of what has been called patriarchy. As we have seen in MBA programs for decades, horizontal management and leadership training are based on this traditional premise.
However, the enforcement of this kind of ‘power over’ has brought us to the brink of extinction, and yet it is still influencing the present exodus of professionals from the workplace.
This model has stretched its life span into oblivion, as people aren't looking for one person to lead, but to coordinate ideas amongst a team with empathy and compassion.
True Power is nurtured in Love
The masculine, fear-based way of leading and exerting Power – is gradually becoming outdated in a world that needs and demands diversity, equality, and inclusion, to turn things around to wholeness.
People are calling for a more balanced style of leadership in which the positive aspects of our masculine leadership traits are integrated with our more feminine attributes of respecting, caring, nurturing, giving, co-creating, sharing, and serving each other, resulting in more creative collaboration and expanding more successful results.
The people call for leaders who know how to combine and balance their strength and courage with also being vulnerable and compassionate and preferring to lead from the heart.
Conscious leadership is this new type of leadership that looks out for the well-being of others.
5 Ways to Shifting To Conscious Leadership
Instead of you, the leader, micromanaging, intimidating, and powering over your people, you are given the opportunity to give your team autonomy to generate their own Power and seek new possibilities and actions created without using domination.
Practice these five approaches to become a conscious leader:
A scarcity mindset with → abundance mindset
“Winners take all” with→ collaboration and cooperation
Extraction with→ healing and giving
Fear and control with→ love
‘Power over’ with→ ‘Power to the people,” supporting those you lead with empowerment
As a conscious leader, your Power based on ethics, mutual respect, and inclusion, opens up the possibility of another type of Power referred to as ‘power with.’
Power With – It’s About The Person, Not The Position
‘Power with’ is Shared Power built on collaboration and relationships, collective strength:
It’s rooted in mutual support, dignity, and solidarity
It enhances individual talents and knowledge and helps build bridges and reduces conflict
It promotes equitable relations.
Wielding your leadership power as ‘power to’ and ‘power with’ will empower your people to act from their strength and TRUE Power.
The door opens to new opportunities, innovation, and healthy growth for your business, your people, and the bigger whole.
The effective and successful leaders of today and the future will need to wield their Power wisely, using the leadership style of ‘power to’ and ‘power with.’ They can do that by becoming conscious leaders and wielding their TRUE Power through the conscious leadership style.
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