Power for a leader is an elusively counterintuitive proposition. When we first lead others, we understand all too well how the position, title, and authority we have over others allow us to direct, push, and cajole them forward.
As we mature as leaders, we come to learn that to be truly powerful, we have to share influence. Deploy too much power in a given situation, and we create unnecessary resistance. People often push back when we act powerfully.
Wise leaders begin to share power in order to be powerful. Counterintuitive for sure. For example, we learn to listen intently. This extends power to others. They then are more willing to confer power back. The lesson becomes clear: Redirecting power to others makes them powerful, as well, and actually gives the leader more power to shape agendas and influence outcomes.
In fact, we act most powerfully when we make others the authors of our ideas and suggestions, claiming them as their own. This requires a deep confidence and credibility that only springs from true power. The irony is not to be missed. The more we project and protect our power, the less we have. The more we share power, the more influence we can assert on others. Who knew the best leaders were really Jedi masters?