Slavery and Power

To force someone into obedience is a form of slavery. To not listen to those who seek to follow is to cease living. C. L. E. R. R. is the acronym for the forms of power.

I have read enough to know that people love power. Folks will plan a power grab for years. Often, the person without power does is not fully conscious of their response to it.

Power is hope. Power is both beautiful and reflexive. To have certain types of power is powerful.

Listen to the Five Types of Power and determine for yourself which should be born in you. Greatness is in itself a just power, but how does one get so mighty? The first type of power is one that bad kings have been known to have too much of: Coercive.

Coercive power is immediate. A leader demands something and that request is performed by the follower immediately. Because of the immediacy of such power, it is not sustainable.

The leader will eventually burn out, burn others out, thus suffering high rates of attrition from followers that leave him/her much less productive. Not to mention, there is little loyalty to the leader when his or her power becomes so coercive that it destroys followers’ abilities to think independently. Coercive leaders often blame others for inefficiency.

The next type of power is legitimate power. I have found far too few willing to accept that their title or status matters enough to others for them to get this or that goal accomplished. Mountains can be moved with this type of power if used consistently and humanely.

The leader with legitimate power can sometimes err when seeking more of what he/she already has, displacing the harmonious balance that may already be present. Legitimate leaders simply need to check-in periodically with followers to see how things are going and should never come across as closed to new ideas. Next to legitimate power is expert power. Knowing is power.

Being able to admit what one does not know is close to absolute power as one could get. A king may or may not be an expert, but his legitimacy means that power simply is by the fact that he is king. Now, we have discussed coercive, legitimate, and expert as forms of power.

The next form of power is reward power. With this form, a follower who performs a request is given something in return. It is not immoral or illegal to subscribe to reward power; however, many leaders have gotten into trouble because of how they opted to use such power.

Reward power is often associated with quid pro quo, for instance. You may have heard this term used in the news recently. Reward power, for that reason, can be repackaged once a system of fairness is firmly established to minimize negative perceptions. Intentional or not, reward power is embedded in a bureaucracy.  

Finally, there is referent power. The difference between referent and expert power is that a person sees you as in charge merely because you are perceive as having power because of how well one deals with people. Over time, people can develop referent power because of how well they collaborate and garner respect.

Understand power and how people use it and be free.