Five Ways to Eliminate the Power Struggle so Everyone Wins

Here are five ways to eliminate the power struggle before it starts:

  1. Pause. Our first instinct is often to fight resistance with more resistance, which only creates more tension and separation, (leading to less productivity). Taking a pause when we notice ourselves entering this power struggle is the first step to having it turn out differently, (and better!)
  2. Check yourself. In this pause, check in with yourself. How is your internal state? Notice any stress in your body? Taking stock of your state is what allows you to change it, and this is key here. People, especially children, are highly perceptive. If your internal state is tense, frustrated, or downright terrified, people pick up on that and respond accordingly. Take a deep breath, and chill. Nothing is fucked here, nobody is going to die, and change is on the horizon.
  3. Ask questions. Next, ask yourself these questions: “What else is possible here? What is being communicated here and how can I respond to it differently?” Whatever information pops into your head after asking these questions is valuable, listen to it. Asking questions to yourself actually opens up your subconscious to receiving awareness and guidance. This is a great way to practice leading with your intuition.
  4. Drop the agenda. The next step is to let go of any, and I mean ANY, agenda you have for what the outcome of this meeting, lesson etc. will be. Literally, just drop it. Take a moment and observe what is happening around you, without any judgement of it. Are your students completely out of control? Are your coworkers giving you the stink eye? Are people falling asleep? Whatever it is, just observe and allow it to be exactly as it is right now.
  5. Take action. Once you have taken stock of what’s in front of you, choose which actions you would like to take, based on the information you’ve gathered. Sometimes, this is a good opportunity to change course completely. I like to reflect back to my students what I think they are communicating, and let them know that I hear them. Sometimes a break, or some quiet time is needed, other times some movement or play is helpful. This is also a great time to offer choices, as it allows people, (children and adults) to feel empowered and heard. Either way, take action based on your observations, rather than your original agenda.




International Student Advisor | Mindful writing coach. I empower people to see their potential.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Growing Into Uncertainty

What China’s Ban on For-Profit School Tutoring Means For Foreign English Teachers Like Me

Mobile Fabrication Labs Cross Language Barriers in Boston

When Knowledge Merges and Increases

Retiring Jana Vartanian Reflects on 14 Years at Genoa Elementary School

How Muslim Women’s Education Can Suffer When Abroad

Will COVID-19 start a reversal of the college admissions arms race?

Grad is just getting started

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
Alexandra Rizzi

Alexandra Rizzi

International Student Advisor | Mindful writing coach. I empower people to see their potential.

More from Medium

How You Present Yourself Is Key To Having Others Follow Your Decisions

Wrapping up your planning year

It’s Only Just A Matter of Trust

Empathy should be applied in ‘The Great Resignation’