Tag Archives: power

What Is Power?

The purpose of leadership and decision-making structures in sociocracy is to build the maximum power for everyone. And to balance that power with harmony and fairness. It is the responsibility of each person in a sociocratic organization to develop their own power and to use it to optimize the work of the organization.

In physics, power is the rate at which work is performed or energy converted.

As people, we have personal power, the ability to accomplish tasks and achieve goals; power with, the ability to engage with others to accomplish tasks and achieve goals; and power over, the ability to control others to accomplish tasks and achieve goals. Without power none of us would be able to function in any area of our lives. The acquisition of power is necessary if we are to live as independent persons, as cooperative persons, and as leaders.

If we negate power or reject it, we have nothing. In government, businesses, organizations, and social groups the task is to develop and use power to improve and equalize our conditions of  living — not to pretend it doesn’t exist, except as a criminal activity.

Democracy holds the same values, but sociocracy has the methods and structures to make power work for the benefit of everyone equally.

Positive Power Over

Power over is not always about forcing, coercing, pressuring, manipulating etc. It can be as engaging as power with.
In terms lazy subordination and undeveloped personal power, power over can be an engaged relationship between the autocrat and the subordinate. Some people want to be dominated and to do so is engaging them, even if it is codependence. With the possible exception of physical force, as in terrorists on a plane, power over is a relationship that is often welcomed and not always destructive.
In some underdeveloped countries where the population is not educated and has very little developed personal power, a dictatorship can be beneficial. Joseph Stieglitz in his works on the World Bank and Jared Diamond in Collapse give examples of countries that have flourished under dictatorships, as well as some that have languished. It appears to be a stage of development for a people to need a power=over leader.