Authentic power is not something you can wield over others.
Authentic power is the force of a greater potential moving through you
in service of something bigger than you.
One of the concepts that my colleague David Robinson and I often talk about in Transformational Presence Leadership is the idea of moving from “power over” – wielding power over others – to “power with” – a co-created sense of power that comes from empowering others.
We move to “power with” when we call forth others to their greatness. We move to “power with” when we empower our co-creative partners to trust their inner wisdom, intuition, knowledge, and skills, so that together we might create something new. We move from one person or a small group holding the power to a sense of shared power and responsibility.
On our last Transformational Leadership Dialogue teleseminar, however, I invited participants to consider yet another level of power – the “power of riding the wave.”
Beyond “power over” and “power with” is the wave of energy that is the greater potential waiting to emerge. This “power of riding the wave” is much greater than any of us can muster on our own or even call forth as shared power from within the group. When we tap into potential on this level and ask that favorite question, “What wants to happen?” in our project, goal, or circumstance, we step beyond our personal stake in what is going on. We tap into something much larger than ourselves – a huge wave of energy that is pure potential wanting to manifest. And it is in that moment that the project or goal truly takes off toward serving the greatest good.
As transformational leaders and coaches, it is our job to recognize where the power lies in any particular moment. Is the leader trying to hold onto the power? Or are the group members empowered to be co-creative partners? Just asking these questions can already bring new awareness and life to your project. And in many organizations and systems, this is already a big step forward.
However, if you’re really ready to fly, ask what wants to happen that is beyond what anyone has imagined. Assume that there is a greater potential waiting to be discovered and go exploring.
As that potential becomes clear, start listening to it and sensing its energy. The wave itself will teach you how to ride it. It will show you the way forward. It’s an intuitive process that demands surrender to something greater than you or your team. Acknowledge this potential as the true source of power for your project. Become a steward for that potential. Partner with it. Ride the wave and follow the energy.
P.S. If you have a copy of my latest book, Create A World That Works, you can learn more about partnering with potential on pages 176 – 181. If you don’t have the book and want to know more, you can order it here.
If you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful or inspiring, I invite you to subscribe to my free weekly newsletter by clicking here.