Ever heard the term, We’re living on borrowed time? For those of us in positions of power and authority a variation holds true: We’re living with temporary power. This is what I call the Power Principle.
I was reminded of this the other day by my friend, Andy. He commented that we’re all given a certain degree of power. We all have influence in certain arenas of our lives — for a time. The power will not always last and it can be taken away. How we use the power we have is tantamount. Are we leveraging our power for the good of others or for our own selfish ambitions?
He went on to say, “Have you ever noticed how there are some that when their power is threatened, they get all puffed up and try to use their power in order to add on or keep the power and influence they have?” This is immediately evident in dictatorships.
What do you do when you recognize that you are the powerful person in an arena of life? Do you use your power constructively or do you abuse your power, just because you can?
Andy made some good observations about the subtle areas that, to one degree or another, we all may fall into and have opportunity to exert control and power:
- Bosses over employees
- Husbands over wives and children
- Wives over husbands and children
- Presidents over countries
- Firstborn over second born children
- Coaches over players
- Teachers over students
- Pastors & priests over clergy
- Police over civilians
- And the list can go on…
The far-sighted person will understand that the power they have is only temporary. Eventually, those of us in power will lose it. As a matter of record, power can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Look at past and recent news about business scandals, church scandals, and national scandals.
So, the overarching question is: What are you doing with the power you have for the time you have it? Only a very secure person is willing to give power away (See article on Leadership Insecurity).