This is a very broad topic and affects a wide range of human activities. One of the local narratives speaks about power as an evil agent when expressed like this "power corrupts,".I believe that power of itself, without humankind, is neither good nor evil. It is an influence that forms part of our lives and the type of influence depends upon the character of the persons using it. Powerful people, especially leaders, are extremely persuasive and can influence others to join into or buy into their purposes. Generally speaking, power is linked to credibility and influence. When you try to influence a person, you are attempting to capture his/her heart and control his/her mind, thus moving his/her thinking away from his/her personal affairs to accept your thoughts, your points of view, your purposes. There are several types of power including legitimate power, coercive power, expert power, reward power, referent power, and informational power. In this Wheatake I am reflecting on legitimate power.
Legitimate power is formal authority given to a person within an organization-government or non-governmental. Because that power comes from a position or job title, it is a form of positional power. It is established and controlled by formal or informal rules established by a lawful authority. For example a Premier, a President, a Manager, a Religious minister, a Fire Chief, a Teacher, and a Parent have legitimate power. That power goes with their position and is taken away if they lose the position. Therefore I think it is fair to say that this type of power is unpredictable and unstable. The results of a general election provide some examples of persons losing legitimate power according to the voters preferences in voting.
Persons holding legitimate power need to be aware that this power is not static for it is not something that you can hold and store up. It is a movement, a relationship, a balance between people. It is fluid and changing. You wake up on 'sky nine' with the highest level of legitimate power and by sunset you can be a prisoner without a shred of that power.
Political power which is an aspect of legitimste power is the ability to control the behaviour of people through the passage, approval, and implementation of laws and regulations. In doing so the power of influence to change the outcomes of people's behaviour is effected. Political power is not necessary an evil or bad thing as I have said before. Sometimes as citizens we think so and this is a juncture in our thinking, in our local narratives, where we need to be very careful because we can injure individuals, and the Territory with our talk and actions.
Political power exists for the well being of society and each of us should do his/her part in making that happen. It is a tall ordrr but worth attempting.
The final comment is legitimate power is not to be used for personal privileges. We know that this is a global challenge from the news and other forms of communication. That being so does not mean that a smsll Territory like the British Virgin Islands cannot be s shining example to the world in this respect. This can be a challenge for us going forward. This would mean individuals would not seek power for personal gain for they may lose sight of the greater good, the needs of the people. Legitimate power is a privilege and should never be used as a weapon for elevating oneself at the expense of other people.
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley