We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish a dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
Once empowered, as we discussed before in this blog, what would you do with it? Use it to beneficial means? Punish your detractors? Lift the world?
Legitimate power, in the sense of leading others, is limited to the amount of leverage your followers will permit you. Granted, you can dismiss those who don’t agree with you in some cases, but the shouting never goes away. The powerful may believe themselves to be so, but the mighty can at once be chopped down by the feeble. If you doubt that, there are hundreds of stories in which this can be shown to be true.
I’m not impressed because there’s a bridge named after you, or a building, or even a document. Maybe if your image is imprinted on currency, that might change things. But the truly powerful are so because they have empowered others and that lasting image of mentorship, of fostering knowledge, of truly leading others, because others have granted you that privilege, well, that is real power.
Only the truly transformative and engaging leaders can provide that kind of experience, where their vision is communicated and moved forward by others. This is a concept that transcends professionalism; it is embracing leadership as a calling. Do you want to be an ordinary leader, or one that is powerful? Leadership at this level requires commitment, honesty to self, and an understanding of the world. It’s yours if you can embrace change, open yourself up to it, and to set the example to others.
Happy New Year. Lead on. We’re watching.