What's Your Special Power?

I approach pop psychology with a degree of ambivalence, partly because I feel it is more market driven than scholarship driven, imbuing the latest cultural phenomenons with a dash of Freud, a dose of Carl Gustav Jung, and maybe even a little William James in order to profit on readers desperately wanting to have someone tell them what to do. On the other hand, some of these psychological tidbits can be insightful as a stimulation for further thought and approaches to some of the problems we face in the everyday world of business as well as the public and private sphere. Simplifying our thoughts and vast concepts into something manageable and practically applicable to our daily lives and business decisions I believe is often one of the greater challenges we face and any sort of initiative or stimulation is worthwhile.
The latest interview on the Harvard Business Review titled “Power Genes: Understanding Your Power Persona–and How to Wield It at Work” features Maggie Cradock who uses Jung's archetypes to designate four “power types”–i.e. the four main character types pe

ople draw on to inspire others. Cradock locates the origin of these power types within the family since we first learn about power structures within this dynamic. Pleasers are those who “connect with people at a personal level,” often denying their own impulses for the sake of others. Cradock assumes that these types were often unernoticed as children and attempted to gain favor by pleasing their parents through self-sacrifice. Generally pleasers rely on the approval or the lack thereof for their sense of self-sufficiency. The second category are the “charmers” who learn how to manipulate situations or triangulate them to their own advantage, a skill they adapted from early on when they were drawn on for emotional support by a parent from an early age. Then, there is the commander who develops in a family structured around one dominant figure and adopts that central authority in his or her own life. The last power figure mentioned is the “inspirer,” often scientists and artists who grow up in families where children are rewared for challenging and scrutinizing the status quo.

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