I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out why Jerk = Power in peoples’ minds so much of the time.
The reason I came up with is this:
Jerks do whatever the hell they want to. They have little to no concern to what other people want. When other people realize that they have little power over the jerk, they perceive it as the jerk having all the power, since none of their own works. They mistake this lack of respect for others as being a source of personal power, rather than an inability to share power when appropriate.
Conversely, “Nice Guys” or “Nice Girls” care what other people think, and try to make other people happy. In this sense, they seem to co-opt their own power and give it to someone else. This makes them look weak and the other person then appears to have the power.
I think that people see these surface ‘illusions’ of power and think it’s the real thing. Too late they discover that they’re stuck with a jerk, when what they were looking for was somebody with personal power.
Someone with REAL power can choose to do whatever the hell they want to, or they can choose to work with or defer to what others want to do. And chooses the appropriate one based on the combined needs of themselves and others.
Learn to tell the difference, and teach the difference to others, and make being a jerk less enjoyable for them.