“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
Rather than using power for its own sake or wielding control over others, servant-leaders use their personal power for the good of all. Power is most effective when shared, as multiple insights and perspectives contribute a greater understanding of whatever complex situation is at hand. Furthermore, studies as far back as social scientist Douglas McGregor’s 1960s X and Y Theory tell us that people will work better, longer and be happier when they are treated with respect and their input is acknowledged and appreciated. Understanding the evolution of our own personal power can be helpful in learning from where our power comes. According to Janet Hagberg’s model, power exists in stages: powerlessness; power by association; power by achievement; power by reflection; power by purpose; and power by wisdom. Servant-leaders tend to derive their power mostly from reflection, purpose, and wisdom. From where does your own power come?
For more about servant-leadership and power, refer to the Gabriel Center’s curriculum Becoming a Servant Leader.
Mark Elberfeld, President