Expanding the Types of Power We Value at WorkOct 01, 2023
Magic happens when we realize that our personal gifts ARE types of power.
I get the great pleasure of watching this type of freedom dawn in leaders, teams, and people anywhere when they realize that the precious types of capacity they’ve cultivated (often in hard-earned circumstances or little-acknowledged life paths) actually are power, despite the forceful illusions cast from culture, community, organization, or family insisting that there are only certain types of power, only certain people can have them, and if you don’t, then, well...you are not powerful.
Popping the bubble of this spell and the suffering it causes is massively liberating, and it’s one of the first and most foundational parts of my work.
Here’s a moving story that demonstrates this //
This Spring, the wonderful Jessie Jacob from Culture Amp hosted me for a talk I shared with the Global Culture First chapter about Power Hygiene (if you’re curious, you can listen here). In that talk, I shared my Power Landscape map with the (then) 30 most common types of power at work. One of the biggest reflections I consistently hear from groups is that this map gives people language they've never had before for deeply felt but often unnamed things.
Aka it makes the invisible visible.
When we opened up to attendees, my friend and former colleague, Chris Murchison, said,
“So many of these types of power aren’t valued at work.”
After which I heard the silent chorus of the whole room
and all Wayfinders think,
“And those are my types of power.”
I practically started crying right then.
And I also felt grateful to be sharing this different view of power with all these workplace culture-change leaders
I know the pain and suffering deep in my bones that result from thinking you’re not powerful or feeling like all or part of you is invisible to those around you. I also know the frustration and rage that result from constantly being asked to do labor or lend mastery that isn’t reflected in my compensation but is constantly called on when things are in dire straits (*e.g. Caretaking Power, Alchemy Power, Ceremony & Ritual Power... and so many more).
These experiences are practically universal in the Wayfinding community.
After that call, I knew I needed to add 6 more types of power to the map. I needed to name and make visible more of the types of power that are moving huge energy flows at work (*remember, power is the capacity to move energy through systems). I needed to do this to further illuminate what all of us are doing as we work to make work more regenerative, just, and inclusive.
Many of these newly added 6 types of power had been woven into the others types or spanned all the types, but I pulled them out to enhance their visibility. That’s how Emotional Power, Learning Power, Love Power, Team Power, Culture Power, and Design Power got added to the map in April.
Here's the new map in case you haven't seen it elsewhere this year.
When you look at this map, I hope you see yourself more clearly.
I hope you see more of the wholeness of your power.
I hope you see all we get to include in our cultures
to design for wholeness at work.
I hope you see all the strands in the movements
birthing an invigorating future of work.
You, my friend, are powerful.
And being powerful doesn’t mean you need to create harm.
As we clean up our notions of power and develop our power literacy, we become conductors of even greater levels of aliveness, service, benefit, and connection via our Power that Serves the Whole.
Simple Actions & Reflections
- As you look at this map, what types of power give name to aspects of your mastery and consistent contribution that you haven't valued for yourself or that you don't feel are appropriately valued at work? How can you appreciate yourself and honor these types of power more fully? If not valued at work, how can you advocate for more valuation or acknowledgment of the power you bring to your team?
- Curious to learn more about the Wayfinding Power Landscape & how to be free of false myths of power? Check out this free ebook.
- Want to feel more freedom in your power and see how your leadership powers express across these 36 types? Explore the Power Assessment for Leaders to learn more.
P.S. If you're longing to explore all the powers and how you embody power in a community of practice with other colleagues, we're launching another Group Power Coaching cohort soon. Stay tuned for public details or reach out to us to learn more and join.
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