The Gift of Power

The idea of power as a gift may seem paradoxical. Can anyone ever give power to someone else? Would they even if they could? Realists and revolutionaries have long believed that no one but a fool ever gives away power. Power, they argue, must be seized—forced unwillingly from the hands of those who clutch it. This might be true if giving power always meant becoming weaker. Yet Steve’s most important lesson at the Topeka plant was that giving power could make him stronger.

Hoarding power produces a powerless organization. People stripped of power look for ways to fight back: foot-dragging, sabotage, withdrawal, or angry militancy. Violence is the poetry of powerlessness. Powerlessness fuels rebellion, coercion, even terrorism. ...

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