Power generates a great deal of conversation. When you see the word power, what is the first thing you think of? The power we use daily, the power we seek to have, the power of others, or how to gain power?
Power to Fuel Our Daily Lives
- “According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, most of the nation’s electricity was generated by natural gas, nuclear energy, and coal in 2020.”
- “Nuclear energy has by far the highest capacity factor of any other energy source. This basically means nuclear power plants are producing maximum power more than 92% of the time during the year.” “The average LCOEs for existing coal ($41/megawatt-hour), CC [combined-cycle] gas ($36/MWh), nuclear ($33/MWh) and hydro ($38/MWh) resources are less than half the cost of new wind resources ($90/MWh) or new PV solar resources ($88.7/MWh) with imposed costs included,” the report states.”
- “Wind turbines work on a simple principle: instead of using electricity to make wind—like a fan—wind turbines use wind to make electricity. Wind turns the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, which spins a generator, which creates electricity.”
So what is the best source of power to utilize daily in our lives? I think there is a big picture to look at and a solution that requires a depth of asking more questions without making quick decisions.
Power we seek
It is our nature to seek power as we want to control things within our reach. Think about children who say “no” I don’t want to eat corn. Then the negotiations begin and choices. “Take two bites.”
Power can be supersized with the images of “super hero’s with superpowers.” You will see good vs. evil in the battles of powers. Power can be used for good and can be abused for bad. It is always based on the foundation my philosophy in education, “choices.” We can choose how we do, what we say, and the efforts of the power we have to influence others. Adding value to others is key in recognizing who is seeking to make a difference and the power they gain is not a priority in the journey they are traveling.
Power of others
Our choice of “why” we seek power determines the “who” we become as leaders. In research and in many articles, you will find discussions about leaders who seek control of those who they work with to increase productivity, increase test scores, improve attendance, and many issues the organization is facing with harsh demands and threats. Do we have relationships with others in power which is positive for us or negative? Do we need to look at ourselves to understand our choice to stay with those who are abusive with their power?
I often warn about the power of others and having a movement of “group think.” It is critical in education to build skills for children to understand the power they have and how to handle this power. Education is something we do with children, not to them. We want answer seekers and not answer getters to promote a regurgitation of the same answers. Allowing students to talk about the problems they are solving helps in promoting agency, innovation, problem solving and risk taking. In our workforce, we want a generation fueled with the power of open-mindedness, ambition, creativity, determination, and grit.
Understanding how power works is the first step in learning to gain power. Power is not in holding a position of authority. This does not give you the power to make a change. We see people in positions of authority, and we watch, read and hear about the misuse of the positions. It does not matter what political party you belong to; you will find the misuse of positions throughout history and current positions throughout the land.
Power can change individuals, I believe, for the better and sometimes not. It is in the strong character traits each individual has, along with the core values they hold, which will continue to guide them through. If you genuinely want to make a change begin by:
- Building networks
- Understanding your organization, school, or workplace
- Getting to know the framework and those involved
- What does everyone contribute and roles they play
- Begin to work on relationship building
- How can you build trust?
- What do they want from leadership, each other and to achieve
Power is the fuel we give it. If there is someone abusing their power, be the one to stand up and not let them get by with it. We cannot be bystanders but upstanders for the power of good to make positive changes in our world. I cannot do it, but we can.