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Power with or power over?

Coercive power is the curse of the universe; coactive power, the enrichment and advancement of every human soul. Mary Parker Follett


Mary Parker Follett

We live in a world of systems, complex and increasingly disconnected.

Our times require vision, connection and collaboration.

Natural systems and technical systems compete, conflict and collaborate over resources to provide us water, food and energy.

Our human systems — family, organizations and community, provide a sense of belonging and common purpose.

We need balance between and among these systems to bring wholeness and resilience to our lives, communities and organizations. A leadership challenge.

It is the leader, as Mary Parker Follett observed nearly a century ago, that “must see all the future trends, and unite them.”

Follett is perhaps best known for her distinction of “power with” vs. “power over”.

“Power with” requires wholeness of leadership and organizational integration.

The challenge for such a form of leadership is to integrate values that enhance thoughtfulness, communication and competency within an organizational system.

Follett's century-old insights are timeless, and never more relevant.


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