Eugene Peterson (The Message) in his introduction of II Corinthians says:”Because leadership is necessarily an exercise of authority, it easily shifts into an exercise of power. But the minute it does that, it begins to inflict damage on both the leader and the led. Paul, studying Jesus, had learned a kind of leadership in which he managed to stay out of the way so that the others could deal with God without having to go through him. All who are called to exercise leadership in whatever capacity—parent or coach, pastor or president, teacher or manager—can be grateful to Paul for this letter, and to the Corinthians for provoking it.”
He is basically referring to the transition from I Corinthians, where the apostle Paul confronts many unbiblical practices in the Corinthian church, to II Corinthians where he talks about his own authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. There may have been some criticism levied him as a result of the directness of I Corinthians. Maybe a little of “Who are you to be the boss of me?” Paul wasn’t trying to exert some kind of power over them in teaching them the Word, but he did have the authority from God to teach. There is a great deal of difference between having the authority to teach and exerting power over someone. There are great lessons of leadership in II Corinthians. Paul had the lessons of the leadership of Jesus Christ, a servant, an under rower, grace giver (II Timothy 2:1-2), a frontrunner in the true sense of the Word. The power of God that both showed was power that built up, encouraged, comforted, and empowered to do the same for others. I am looking forward to delving into II Corinthians from this point of view.
Here’s a start:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort (link); Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (comfort or consolation is used many times in II Corinthians)