Power is the best way to fail to achieve commitment

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.” – Margaret Thatcher

Can a leader have too much power? Society has glorified many powerful leaders throughout history– in the workplace, the political arena or battlefields. But recent research has shown how leaders with too much power can negatively affect the success of their teams.

With the power scale of the Cicumplex model, we can measure the tendency to associate our self-worth with the degree to which people can control and dominate others. Individuals who seek power are motivated by a need to gain prestige, status, and influence. They achieve false, temporary feelings of self-worth by striving to be "in charge" at all times. Power-seekers typically lack confidence in others, and believe that force, intimidation, and coercion are necessary to get results. Power-oriented motives prevent the formation of healthy relationships.

In fact, those who consistently seek power tend to experience an increasing sense of alienation from others. The true sense of "power" that comes from knowing how to do the job, from being respected by others, and from getting results is not what is measured on this scale. Rather, the Power style is characterized by a need to control merely for its own sake, to establish feelings of self-importance.

What are the causes and symptoms of this sin?

  • A high need for power, status, prestige, influence, and control
  • A tendency to dictate, rather than guide, the actions of others
  • An aggressive and possible vengeful attitude
  • Narrow, rigid thinking
  • A tendency to be threatened by perceived attempts to undermine authority

Inevitably, this sin creates unwritten laws such as “Never relinquishing control” or “Using the authority of one’s position”.

These types of norms characterize an organization where authority is based on position, the “chain of command,” and people’s ability to assert themselves. Members believe they will be rewarded for taking charge, controlling others, and running things themselves. The order and control associated with such a tightly-run system can potentially enhance quality. However, these benefits are offset when strong norms in this direction lead members to view power (rather than performance) as the goal and to resist control by others, hold back information, and engage in political maneuvers.

Of course, apart from being in a meeting where everyone is wearing a uniform with stripes, the phrase that usually betrays this sin is: "Because I said so...". But like the sin of approval, it is very difficult for management to detect because those who like power will be submissive to the hierarchy and this can be too pleasant and blindfolded. Our pride will make us believe that we have achieved the commitment of our team, but what we will really have is a "herd of sheep" or a "group of faithful soldiers"...oops!.

How can this sin be avoided?

If you commit it:

  • Seek feedback on your behavior from neutral sources.
  • Increase your confidence in others by delegating assignments. Take an objective look at the results in terms of comparable quality and the time you save yourself.

If you have an organization:

  • Avoid having a car park for the Board and the Management
  • Don't surround yourself with courtiers.
  • Seek feedback on your organization from neutral sources.

Don't miss the upcoming article in which we will talk about Competitive as something not looking for the result but for the excuse. If you want to know more about how to manage change and build resilient organizations, contact us! info@avancegroup.eu