The Power To Share Information

Women who prefer to create and nurture instead of dominate understand there is an inverse relationship between control and participation. Too much control prevents true participation and encourages others to color only inside the lines. We dial down control in order to we open a window for the creativity of others to flow in unpredictable (often better) directions. Too much control stunts the growth of people who might have better ideas than our own. We don’t abdicate the role of leader. As an alternative to control, we set out to keep people as informed as we are and ensure open communication will expose conflicts before it can turn into a power struggle.

We seem more likely to aim to build community, rather than an army. Consider the culture of your organization. Are mechanisms designed to control information or to share information? If the focus is on control those of us who seek to share often end up discredited as weak, inefficient or lacking focus.

When control is the goal, it can cause us to feel powerless to achieve collective goals that are only possible with high levels of diversity and participation. My own experience in gaining authority in large organizations, barely earned me the ability to translate that authority into inventing collaborative goals. All goals were based on competitive wins that often turned colleagues into competitors. Power structures based on competition prioritize business goals over human goals. Some women in business who are subjected to toxic masculinity experience a form of PTSD that keeps us careful and quiet. When have you opted to stay silent because it was better to be safe than sorry? Is there any event in the past


4 Responses

  1. Eye opening to me. I worked in healthcare, either autonomously or directly under the supervision of higher credentialed staff. If there was ever an air of competition, I was oblivious to it. Teamwork is not optional in healthcare.

    1. Good point. In what I’ve seen at the front lines, you are right there is very little competition. Patient centered care works. Most good people care and will do what they need to do. The “competitive narratives” I’ve been asked to address within healthcare were between doctors and nurses (who gets to prescribe, who gets support, etc.) between departments trying to meet their numbers, and at the VA between HQ and the field. Also there were conflicts when patient safety edicts weren’t accompanied by extra staff or extra time. My book about Territorial Games launched my career and government and healthcare were my biggest clients. So I probably saw way more than my fair share.

  2. Insightful post! It often feels safer to stay silent, but then it ends up making me feel resentful and disempowered…not worth it.

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