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Demonstrating Power

 

Explanations > RelationshipsStatus Games > Demonstrating Power

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

A way of gaining status is to use it to prove one's superiority by publicly exercising it or otherwise showing that you have power.

Ways to demonstrate power and so gain or sustain status include:

  • Asserting: Affirming your rights
  • Autonomy: Acting without the permission of others
  • Directing: Telling others what to do
  • Countermanding: Reversing the decisions of others
  • Magnanimity: Generous giving when it is not required
  • Ostentation: Visibly showing your wealth and power

Example

A teacher tells her pupils what to do in direct, commanding tones.

A business leader gives everyone a day off when good results come in.

A teenager regularly disrupts lessons as a means of showing power to others. 

Discussion

Power is the potential for action, including helping or harming others. When people realize your power they will compare it with their own and with that of others and so afford you commensurate status.

Power is not always visible, and you can gain higher status by demonstrating it. Be careful when doing so that you create respect rather than resentment. Resentment leads to reactive erosion of your power and downgrading your status. Respect has the reverse and positive effect on status.

So what?

Show power to get power. Demonstrate that you have power. You can be both kind and unkind in this, but do remember the impact of doing this. Being too kind too often can result in you losing status as people think you a soft touch. Being too harsh can result in dislike that lowers your status.

See also

Power

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