You Will Gain Power by Sharing Power To Empower Others

Insight #329

Don’t give power to your opponents by arguing with them.

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Many years ago, the then president of Zimbabwe ranted at a rally that the leader of the opposition in South Africa was a threat to all revolutionary governments in Africa. I remember thinking, “Wow! With that silly statement, Robert Mugabe gave Tony Leon far more power and recognition than Mr. Leon could have hoped to get on his own.”

Today I see the same thing happening in USA politics. And in many other countries.

But I have not forgotten the lesson. Don’t give power to your opponents by arguing with them, or by defending yourself, unless you absolutely must engage with them. Using power this way weakens you.

But, you say, at work we argue all the time. How else will we know we are making the right decisions? It’s not personal. It’s business.

No, it’s not business. It is personal. Because of the way we argue. We disagree, we quarrel, we dispute, we squabble. And then, frustrated, we quibble. Arguing is messy, unstructured and thus often aimless.

Better to debate. A debate is a more formal process of civil discussion designed to air opposing points of views. So that? So that we can make more effective decisions.

Here’s a funny thing about debates. We give power to the person with the better rationale and reasoning. But then we all gain power through making better decisions.

So it is possible to get more power by giving power away. The difference is in the giving, in how you give. When you share love, you don’t end with less love. Same with an idea. Love and ideas grow through being shared.

Remember: You will gain power if you share power to empower someone. But, you will lose power if you use power to diminish someone.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

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