How do I see the differences between personal power and power differential? Well in my view, personal power is the expression of your innate strength, convictions, responsibility, and compassion. This aspect in its healthy expression does not suggest arrogance or dominance but the strength to listen, consider, and take action. These actions are taken for the good of many and not the good of one alone. Although, personal power at times may isolate us and place us at odds with the path of group thinking, it still suggests a capacity and responsibility to speak our conviction without imposing them on others. Expression does not equate to oppression.
Power differential, on the other hand, is fertile ground for arrogance, ego, and abusive behaviour of all kinds. This power differential may exist in an organization, family, community, country, or individual. The phrase “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” is an apt expression of power differential at work. In contrast equal rights and access to resources, speech, safety, health care, affiliation, mobility, and expression are all hallmarks of a culture that embraces personal power.