Superhero adventure movies are all the rage. We can’t seem to get enough of them. We love these movies because we love the idea of wielding power for good. Having the power to defend, to change. The power to influence.
In today’s world, there is little that suggests power more than physical strength. Force is the most direct path to influence, according to our culture. There’s nothing so American as punching our way to change. And, therefore, our heroes are given super speed, super strength, and a whole host of physical attributes to capacitate them for the fight we so often feel incapable of.
It is easy for us to accept the role of victim, to throw up our hands and point our fingers. The best kept secret in this world is that it does not take teleportation or the ability to lift a car to influence the world around us. These five types of power make the miracle of positive influence a daily possibility for us all. Take that Iron Man!
The human power we lean on most is actually the least influential of the five. But it is a power nonetheless.
Positional power is influence based on a title, a position. When we are placed in positions of authority, we wield a certain influence over others. From politicians to schoolteachers, officially designated positions come with an inherent amount of influence. We can use this influence for good or for ill.
Our society is set up for positional power. This is why we long for it so badly.
When we are affirmed with a position of influence, it is our culture’s way of validating our abilities. The responsibility of positional power is to influence others in a positive way.
The reason positional power is the least effective is because we follow it out of obligation. This is not to say it cannot be used for good. But as we move through the list, notice how our influence moves less from obligation and more towards empowerment.