There’s a difference between hierarchies of domination and hierarchies of actualization (power to and power with rather than power over). Lack of domination doesn’t necessarily mean chaos. As I’ve already told you Estwald, I work for an organization that functions just great without hierarchies of domination.

I just finished a book called Stewardship, by Peter Block, that is all about the benefits of moving away from dominance hierarchy (patriarchy, as he calls it) in workplaces and also society at large into more partnership-oriented management styles. The company who published his book was so taken with the ideas that they reorganized accordingly.

“The obligation of accepting a position of power is to be, above all else, a good human being. Not to be a good leader, not so much to maintain order and fight back chaos, not to know what is best for others — these are the qualities of being a good parent. If you are a boss, the people working for you definitely have expectations of you to be a good parent to them, but this is not stewardship. Stewardship is the willingness to work on ourselves first, to stay in intimate contact with those around us, to own our doubts and limitations and make them part of our dialogue with others. Our humanness is defined more by our vulnerability than by our strengths.”

And this is not for the purposes of being noble. It’s because this is a better economic model. When you empower workers closer to the work to make relevant decisions and cut down on professional managers, you get a more efficient work output.

I won’t go into the nuances of bird telephones — I’ve not smoked enough for that. 🦜

Written by

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store