A Values Based Perspective of Power

Date & Location: January 22nd Murray 02

Presenters: Christine Munger

Number of Attendees: 28

Event Summary: 

Christine began by defining power as ability to manipulate the environment and/or influence others.  She also highlighted that personal perception of power has significance in your ability to manipulate environment and/or others.  Guidelines for respectful communication were established.

Christine demonstrated the different ways power is evaluated in people.  Genders, race, and age, personality, and body language were discussed as concepts that influence people’s perception of power in others.

Christine went on to discuss power-distance, or the degree with which people with little power accept the unequal distribution of power was explored first.  Examples of dichotomous leadership techniques were given to demonstrate the difference between high power-distance societies and low power-distance societies. 

Session participants explored contemplative leadership, which involves remaining open and receptive.  In other words, letting people be themselves as they are led.  Tips for being a contemplative leader include:

  • encouraging mutual responsibility and respect
  • taking time for pondering and the unknown
  • look for ways to expand rather than narrow options
  • meet others where they are and be where you are
  • don’t  do for others what they can do themselves

Participants broke into groups to discuss strategies for getting low power-distance groups and high power-distance groups to share their thoughts.