Jaqueline Becker

Leadership: Power vs Strength

We love to proudly point to our Corporate, Educational, and Political leaders as models of integrity, but for those who fail to demonstrate personal and procedural integrity in their disciples, the word leader is a sham. The word supervisor implies having a superior vision. I can hear the laughter of recognition from many of my clients who live, or have lived, through the experience of supervisors whose visions are, shall we say, not so superior. One of the reasons for the deficits of the many who find themselves in supervisory positions is that they mistake power for strength.

Power, devoid of compassionate policies and procedures is simply a masquerade of strength, and that distortion of real strength in leadership is a depiction of a lower level of consciousness. Real,  ethical manifestations of compassion in the delivery of ethical processes and procedures in our workplaces will be built upon a foundation of more conscious awareness of personal integrity in daily living in our work communities.

A word about the integrity of self-presentation (and not just in the workplace). Passionate expressions of one’s expectations of performance and venomously spewing them forth are worlds apart. Historically, as most of us know, venomously spewing and demonizing others has led to horrors for humanity. But, we are now at a tipping point and our individual actions are vital for shaping the tenor of our time and the future for those who come after us.

Bullies will not fool the strong. The weak will follow them as they are pulled by a longing for acceptance, admiration, and a lift up to the imagined power status of the bully. Be strong, hold onto your true values because the bullies really only give to themselves; when their needs are satiated, you are no longer relevant to them and will be quite easily discarded.

Bullies, running for high office in business and/or politics, or bullies running for self-aggrandizement in the schoolyard appear larger than life. Yet, most of us know it’s impossible for anyone to really be larger than life. So what are bullies larger than?

They are larger than our expectations for them to extend reasonable empathy toward others. We are shocked that bullies can be so cruel to others and take whatever they want whenever they want to. We don’t do that because most of us care that we might cause harm to others. Bullies seem unable to care. Some of them…some, can learn to care, others can learn to demonstrate caring behaviors, others will remain unchangeable; remember though, the unchanged bullies serve as our teachers for what not to do.

On our children’s tiny shoulders, and in their souls, they carry their positive and negative experiences of us. On the shoulders of our employees, colleagues, and bosses, they too carry their positive and negative experiences of us. For encouraging real leaders in our organizations and not power grabbers, we are called upon to learn, and teach others, how important it is to become more conscious of the impact of our attitudes and behaviors on others. What wonderful tides we can turn…together.

CWI, Inc. can help you evaluate if you, or those on your staff, are amongst the changeable ones. 

Make no mistake, we all bully from time to time. What we want is to care to fix that as much as possible and foster leaders with real strength.

—Dr. Becker.

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