On Monday I asked you when you first realized that you had the power to . . . And I gave you a brief glimpse at my definition of what power-to looks like. Check out this piece I just wrote for More.com on why it’s time for women to change how we think about power.
Here’s another No Excuses look at what power-to means:
Power-over focuses on tactics for gaining compliance, while leadership focuses on getting answers and solutions in order to be able to accomplish something for mutual good.
Power-over makes people feel powerless. Even if it isn’t force or brute power, but a manipulative power such as political dominance, the feeling that one has no control over one’s choices makes her disgruntled, angry, or passive-aggressive.
Power-to makes us feel powerfull.
Power-to supports and enhances whatever power the individual brings to a project, workplace, relationship, or civic activity. It abhors coercion. It opens up the possibility of choices; the ability to choose is what makes us human. Choosing is the basis of morality.
Power-over is amoral. Power-to is responsibility.
Power-over is oppression. Power-to is leadership.
What are your thoughts about this definition? How does it change your ideas about power and leadership? Can you give examples of the use of either definition of power?