For many people “leadership” seems to mean ‘power’ and vice-versa. This is wrong. This error is a result of not critically analyzing these concepts.
There is some degree of correlation between these two notions but there are different ways of achieving both of these confusing concepts.
Whereas power is defined as an ‘excessive exercise of authority or power by someone so as to rule and control society through various means’. An example of this phenomenon are leaders who practice ‘totalitarianism’, especially in Africa.
However, the concept of leadership on the other hand has a different version all together; this is because its definition reflects a degree of legal authority extended to a person to execute his/her duties in a manner fully acceptable to the public.
And if some one exercises both or is in control of the two then she/he is in double jeopardy since power violates the legal authority of which leadership is in support of.
In leadership, communication flow between the governors and the governed is utilized, and expression of opinion is given a priority as long as it doesn’t contravene any constitutional obligations or laws.
I think that our President for showing the world the proper method of leadership. That’s why winning trophies for all sorts of things and that’s just after eight years in office.
Nevertheless the problem arises from the balance and management of the two concepts since the principle of one contravenes the principle of the other.
This is just as difficult as becoming an adviser to a cat while being the spokesperson to the rat at the same time; but really this depends entirely on application of the guarding and guiding principles.
One might call me pretentious by stating this, but I believe that balancing the two concepts requires the most exceptional skills; talents that only the most extraordinary have.
That is why, when some people attempt to exercise coercive power under a pretext of leadership, end up losing their sanity
Power is always about manipulation and, sadly, what many of us call ‘leadership’ is actually ‘power’. And if you are a leader who confuses the two concepts, maybe its time that you revised your style.
The author is an independent analyst/researcher.