• Heather

President Zelenskyy is showing us what “power with” leadership looks like

The fact that we are watching a potential World War start in real time is absolutely insane. This story is being covered and then some by media and historical experts across the world.


But there’s another story unfolding in real-time, too. One of true leadership that beautifully reflects what Brené Brown defines as “power with” versus “power over” leadership styles.


All of us stand to learn something from this, including deranged dictators.

In her book “Daring to Lead,” Brown discusses the under belly of leadership — power — in length. One passage widely found on the inter-webs says:


“The definition [of power] does not make the nature of power inherently good or bad. What makes power dangerous is how it's used. Power over is driven by fear. Daring and transformative leaders share power with, empower people to, and inspire people to develop power within.”


I love the simplicity in an area of endless nuance.


Russia’s current self-appointed president is a clear example of power over. His deranged pursuit of a past point in history is another clear use of fear in his power over tactics.


To the contrary, we have President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine who is showing power withleadership in real time — literally joining his people, empowering them and inspiring all free-thinkers around the globe.


My thoughts are with Ukraine. My support to President Zelenskyy. The line between power over and power with is incredibly fine — and can be decided by one election.


That’s why, as much as we may dislike the structure of our democracy and the beliefs of our fellow man, it has valuable built-in checks and balances to thwart an immediate fall into authoritarian chaos.


Leaders show their true colors in times of stress. We are witnessing history in both leadership and the world.


Rise high.