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Co- operative Power


Co- operative Power | Power With not Over

In life the issue of power needs to be considered. personal and professional relationships, won’t be effective where the imbalance of power in the relationship is not treated very sensitively. This can be helped by a conscious attempt by parties to use power appropriately. Often, understanding, acknowledging and even extending our own sense of personal power provides a solid base on which to build relationships in which power is used co-operatively.

EmpowerMe is about empowering ourselves, but we ned to understand more about power , where it sits and how we and others use it for good and for bad.

Only once we understand this and our role will we be empowered enough to manage it effectively and appropriately.


  • To identify and explore our attitudes and uses of power.
  • To consider ways to harness and to use power effectively and not at the expense of others.

Session Times: 1 Day

Recommended Background:

  • The Win/Win Approach
  • Appropriate Assertiveness

The focus in this course is on the development of co-operative power – power with not power over. We will examine power relationships, the bases from which power originates, and personal power – what makes each of us a powerful person.

  • What does power mean to you?
  • Who has power over you?
  • Over whom do you have power?
  • Around whom do you feel powerful?
  • Around whom do you feel powerless?
  • How do you give away your power?

In thinking about power we focus our attention in a variety of ways. For example, we may think about:
• our emotional response
• the effect it has on us personally
• the broader consequences, or
• where it comes from.

Power bases are levers that help people gain what they want. They can be used fairly or unfairly. Co-operation and consensus depend on people influencing others. However, when people feel tricked or stood over, chances are that someone has used a power base manipulatively.

What are some differences between manipulation and influence?

How do people behave when playing out these behaviours?

What do we do about it?

Do we behave in this way?

because this is a pattern of relating that we learnt at a young age. As well, it’s very difficult to disengage from these behaviours if those around us continue with them.
We’ll look now at specific ways of changing our behaviours to transform the power game triangle into a circle of discovery.

What is personal power and how do we know if and when we have it?

How do diminish our personal power?

How do we develop personal power?

We are often restrained in developing and exercising our personal power by our use of disempowering language.

Much as we place ”shoulds” upon ourselves, we also place them upon other people. Known as demand behaviour this arises from our own often subtle, type of persecuting behaviour.
Most of us have experienced demand behaviour in, for example, our relationships with our children, or our parents, our partners, our work subordinates or our colleagues

Sometimes we feel trapped by past events. We may have been a real victim to accident, abuse, hardship, loss or injustice in the past. We may continue to blame those past experiences for our situation now; or excuse our current behaviour in some contexts because it has resulted from previous circumstances.
Exploring positive outcomes from the past is not about condoning violence or cruelty or dismissing tragedy. It is about putting memories of these things to rest; and looking for the growth, understanding or direction to which they gave rise.

Sometimes we are confronted with behaviours in others that we find difficult to handle. Depending on our response, we may find ourselves reinforcing these behaviours, giving way or engaging in a power struggle.

A way in which we sometimes use power destructively is by making extreme statements or generalisations to support our feelings or our viewpoints. We often do this when a new idea is being floated, or a change is being suggested. We may not be intending such behaviour as a power play. Instead, we may just be reacting because we’re feeling concerned, or threatened. Or we may, in fact, want to assert our authority in the situation. Rather than assert this authority or state our concerns clearly, we may be very negative about the idea or present unsubstantiated and, seemingly, unarguable objections such as ”It will never work”. Essentially, we are showing our resistance to the new idea or proposed change by blocking the communication.

People in very powerful positions are sometimes difficult to approach and, particularly, to confront.

What makes it difficult to deal with people in powerful positions?

Dealing with Powerful People

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