There are two main types of power personal and organisational. Personal refers to the knowledge, skills and competence associated with an individual which makes them an expert. As an expert the individual can exert a certain amount of power in various situations, as in the teacher- learner relationship.
Organisational power can be one of four types: Reward power as in pay, promotion or praise, Coercive power is a negative form of the above-punishment, disciplinary procedures , Legitimate power when the incumbent has authority, Information power has special knowledge which is valued by the other staff or supervisees.
Using the model of supervision it is important to remember that it is a two side process rather than top down management. As a Manager I have the power to look into aspects of promotion, pay rise and relay this information to the staff to instil accountability.
Power used carefully, respectfully and wisely by critical thinkers can create the path for growth for all involved.
An experienced supervisor may not be aware of certain things that are important to a supervisee in helping them to develop as a learner. Power can impact on the supervisee to make them behave in a very defensive way. This can have the effect of paralysing their ability to think and, out of fear or excessive respect, they may accept ideas the supervisor imposes on them. It can also affect the supervisor, who may feel particularly challenged or de-skilled by certain supervisees.
If either supervisor or supervisee feels there is a ‘clash’ between them, so that the supervision process is not working successfully, they need to know where to go for help in managing this. It may be the case that either or both of them would develop a more helpful working relationship with a different person.