Friday, 16 September 2016

The essential tension between leadership and power

Leaders, however, are typically endowed with power, and power can corrupt (Kipnis, 1972). Power is operationally defined as having control over resources, which affords the ability to influence others by bestowing or withholding those resources (Magee & Galinsky, 2008). Instead of wielding their power for the greater good, some leaders may be tempted to use their power in self-serving ways. Although groups often need leaders to achieve important goals, providing leaders with power can make followers susceptible to exploitation.

The recent scientific literature has identified a variety of ways in which power can lead to negative behaviors. Power causes people to become disinhibited, increasing the likelihood that they will act on their (sometimes selfish) impulses, rather than thinking carefully about what is best for the group (Galinsky, Gruenfeld, & Magee, 2003; Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003). Power can cause people to objectify others and to see them as a means to their own ends (Gruenfeld et al., 2008). Powerful people tend to be bad at taking the perspective of others (Galinsky et al., 2006) and, at the same time, they are good at satisfying their own needs and goals (Slabu & Guinote, 2010). Power also heightens sexual goals, which can set the stage for inappropriate advances toward colleagues and subordinates (Kunstman & Maner, 2011). With all of these transformative effects of power, it perhaps comes as no surprise that many leaders seem to behave in apparently corrupt ways.  read more

No comments: