Power Sharing

Do you have real power?

I’m not talking about power like Superman (for us old people) or Mosaic (for everybody else).

What I’m talking about is, do you have the power you think you wield around your office and among your peers?  Do you have the authority to take the kind of actions you challenge employees with and the pull to get the things done as you claim?

If you do have that kind of power, then share it.

The Power to Share

I know C-suite power brokers who hold real power.  They can change the course of a project in one meeting, add new staff when the workload explodes and can authorize large work orders with the signing of a pen.  Within this group are two distinct types.

One type is the power brokers who want everyone to know they have power.  Some display this by the clothing they wear or the cars they drive.  Some display this by the names they drop and the places they visit.

But all show it by how they treat the people who work for them. Everyone is on a need-to-know basis. This type of boss will tell you only what you need to know and only what you need to do.

The second type is the women and men who have real power but seldom show it.  They are congenial, kind and somewhat unassuming.  They have power because they earned it and they judiciously use it.

Their track record of applying their power is enviable; they play the power card only when necessary.  Everyone loves to work for these power brokers because the employees get the freedom to do their job.

Sharing Power

The first type of power brokers has yet to learn the art and necessity of sharing power.  Although difficult to initially comprehend, power is meant to be shared.  Sharing any level of power will ultimately benefit you and the organization you represent.  Power needs to be shared because:

  1. Sharing power allows others to act independently, which will ultimately produce better results. Unnecessary oversight always stifles productivity and imagination.
  2. Others under your authority have better skills at many tasks than you, so share your power with them and let them do their job.
  3. By delegating tasks, you free up your time and energy to tackle other more important tasks.
  4. Through delegation, you can multiply your leadership. More people will be able to devote more quality leadership time to more tasks.

False Power

Unfortunately, many who display the characteristic of power brokers don’t have the power they think. They spend their energy attempting to make everyone think they have the power that they want but have yet to earn it.

These managers are wannabes. They have yet to earn the right to wield power, so they take a shortcut and act as if they have power or authority.  These managers best bet is to step back, determine the actual limits of their authority, and then practice humility by managing at that level.

The Bible

2 Corinthians 12:9 says.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Power is meant to be shared.  The benefits of sharing power easily outweigh the restriction of power within one person.

So, are you managing your power and authority so that only you benefit, or are you sharing it, so your entire team and organization benefit?