Avoiding the Power Struggle

Avoiding the Power Struggle

Partners often disagree. Sometimes disagreements throw partners off task. Rather than simply recognizing there are different points of view or perspectives about some issue, partners can slip into a dangerous, locked in location: the world of right or wrong thinking; the power struggle.

In the power struggle, partners get positioned into a single minded thinking, “My way, not yours” or “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Collaboration falls by the wayside, giving way to a more competitive, heels dug in way of communicating.

Instead of listening or reflecting, partners speak at each other, scarcely taking the time to acknowledge what the other partner is trying to say. Instead, partners interrupt and get distracted. They forget empathy or understanding. It’s every man for himself: shoot first and duck second. If partners remain stuck in the power struggle too long, it can become trench warfare. Pride can eat away at the fabric of mutual trust or respect. What can you do to get out of the trap of the power struggle?

Bottom Line

  • Take responsibility for your own disruptive behavior.
  • Acknowledge to your partner how you aren’t listening or acting like a partner. You’re annoyed and plugged in to your own point of view. Apologize.
  • Recommit yourself to getting your partnership back on track. Start listening and behaving like a partner. Agree to disagree. Be hard on the problem, not on each other.