Five Common Scenarios In Which We Resort to the Wrong Approach

Adam Kahane's newest book argues for the judicious use of both power and love in combination (each combination being unique to the situation at hand) to effect change and resolve conflict in communities and groups. There are many situations where we make the mistake of resorting to pure force (power) to achieve the desired goal, or want to avoid conflict altogether (love) in the hopes that peace will inevitably prevail with kindness. These situations are found not only in war-torn regions of the developing world, but in our everyday lives with our families, friends, and colleagues.

Here Adam presents the five common scenarios where we resort to only power or only love when we should use both:

a. Common Power-Only Scenario #1: We are so afraid of being hurt that we deny or cut off our love and connection to others, attacking them (and/or defending ourselves) aggressively.

Example: Have you ever walked away from a friendship or relationship that felt difficult, because this seemed easier than confronting the person and taking the risk of having to face some unpleasant revelations about yourself?”

b. Common Power-Only Scenario #2:
We are so sure of the correctness of our beliefs and actions that we deny or forget that we might be wrong -- and that we might be hurting others.

Example: Have you ever vigorously pushed an idea or initiative that you were certain was right, over the objections of others, only to find that ultimately it wasn't right?

c. Common Love-Only Scenario #1: We are so afraid of hurting others that we deny or cut off our own ambition and power.

Example: Have you ever buried ideas or initiatives that were important to you, because you were worried that they might offend or upset someone you really cared about?

d. Common Love-Only Scenario #2: We are so uneasy with or lacking in confidence in our own power that we pretend we have none -- and so flail about timidly and unconsciously.

Example: Have you ever found yourself manipulating other people towards your own motives because you aren't willing to step up to say what you want and what you are willing to do to get it?

e. Common Love-Only Scenario #3: We are so determined to keep our situation polite or high-minded or whole that we suppress self-expression, dissent, and conflict--and thereby making our situation unhealthy and un-whole.

Have you ever swept problems in a group under the carpet or ignored them in order to keep the group intact, only to find these problems coming back bigger and more destructive?

What are your personal experiences with power and love? Share with the community below...


Kathryn/kathrynhallpublicist.com said...

This is an insightful post. Without a doubt this is a sandbox in which I have a lifetime of experience. I have never been afraid to step into the ring, and while my intentions might have been very loving, they are not always perceived as such, because what is perceived is that I am "making waves." Sometimes the truth comes out and sometimes it does not. And I live with that. Ironically where this has shown up the most is in my fierce advocacy on behalf of my author clients. It's a hard row to hoe. Glad you are taking this on.

Bianca Alexander said...

Love this post! So necessary to examine our unconscious beliefs about love and power in this time where the planet is shifting to higher levels of consciousness. We are all being asked to embrace and properly balance our divine feminine and masculine aspects in order to have relationships--and a world--that works for everyone! The biggest opportunity seems to be recognizing our unconscious motives in the most uncomfortable of moments, being empowered enough to venture out of our comfort zone, and making a more conscious choice.

Thank you for sharing. Great Valentine's Day message!



Karen Hough said...

What a great post. I can't help but wonder about gender roles as I read the post. Many of the love examples ring true to me, and I can think of myriad men I know who have been through the power mistakes. That's a bit broad and sweeping, granted, and we've probably all experienced all 5. But it seems we have an opportunity to lean in the other direction here. The points about speaking up and swimming through some conflict is part of the work I do with female executives and women's affinity groups. Great brain food to munch on over the weekend. Thanks!

siddhartha said...

Developing world, developed world?

Does a country that goes to war so often that one loses count, does such a country belong to the developed world?

And does a country that is economically poor but where marriages tend to last, depression is rare, and where populations have neither been enslaved nor exterminated, is this country a member of the developing world?

If so, we ought to rethink what development means. That would subject the term to profound scrutiny from the templates of both love and power.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be offline... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please reply to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at bklists.blogspot.com could post it.