Power Over vs. Power With.
Dear Women Friends, Colleagues, Sisters,
I recently returned from Ghana where I was supporting a Ghanaian trade team in their negotiations with the economic powerhouses, in this instance, the EU. What’s always super interesting about watching simulations of negotiations is I get to see up close the microdynamics that play out on the global stage. The world is still so stuck in a win-lose, adversarial mindset, what I might call the hyper-masculine, power over v. power with, that leaves the (assumed) less powerful on the losing end. This is so limiting and short-sighted! So much value is left on the table!
What I noticed is how, I don’t think the EU reps are really negotiating at all – they are just biding time until the moment of truth, the moment when a decision must get made, and then applying their assumed greater power to get what they want. It struck me as SO STUPID as I was watching because the EU needs what Ghana is providing A LOT and using a win-lose approach just means everyone loses.
If people in the traditionally one-down position in our world, be it African trade reps or women worldwide, play by the existing rules of competition, patriarchy, zero-sum, we will probably lose – and, of course, the entire world will lose as well because we have no time left to play that game. It’s time that all of us who understand the one-down position get really good at collaboration and COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP.
Zero-sum rarely works anymore even tho the bully/blow-hards of the world like Donald Trump like to pontificate that it does. We women worldwide get collaboration in our DNA -- from how we raise our children to everything else. The world needs us to stop playing small, truly get what collaboration looks like, instead of accommodation and model this to the world in sisterhood.
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