A good ruler is someone who maintains control over his people without pushing them to mutiny. In Machiavelli’s The Prince a ruler has absolute control over them. This is unlike how, in most relationships, there is a struggle for power; one person always wants to be in control. Within a power relationship there is no contest who is in control—just an acceptance of power. The absolute superiority creates an inability for the inferior to rebel against the power. From the inception of the relationship there is an understanding, from both sides, of absolute power. If he desires a harmonious ruling a prince must possess the ability to have a productive power relationship with his people by utilizing a balance between fear and love.
Another example of a power relationship is the one between a student and a teacher because the teacher holds complete control over the student. The teacher holds the ability to define a student’s success and without the support of a teacher it is likely the student. A good teacher utilizes her power in order to maximize the potential of each of her students and does the exploit the control she has. In contrast, a bad teacher uses her power to intimidate and degrade her students, which creates resentment. Yet, the student has little control over the situation. It may seem, at first, as if the relationship between a prince and his people and a teacher and her students, but at their core they are both power relationships—that if used correctly result positively for both the superior and the inferior.
In addition to being able to effectively use a power relationship, Machiavelli believes that self-reliance is a trait that a ruler must possess in order to rule effectively. A prince can never depend on his people to rule because they lack the ability to comprehend a prince’s action. Whether a prince comes into power from overthrow of a previous power or in succession of a current power, he must understand that he is in ultimate control and can only depend on himself. If the prince arrives in power through force then oftentimes his subjects do not completely feel an allegiance with him. This is because people are uncertain about change and even if the overthrow was imminent it may still take awhile for their loyalty to transfer to the new prince. If his succession was peaceful then the subjects expect him to act as his predecessors, and if he is not self-reliant he will end up loosing his voice due to the expectations of his people. If a prince is deserving of his power then expressing his inner ambitions will ultimately be to the benefit of his people, and even if they take awhile to adjust, they ultimately will accept the prince’s power (Machiavelli, 1513).
Kindness also plays a crucial role in any leader’s personality, however this is especially true for a power relationship. If the superior is truly kind in his heart then he will be sympathetic to the needs of his subordinates and allow for these needs to be...