Power – if used correctly – can be a force for good. But we’ve all worked with that person … one minute she’s your happy-go-lucky co-worker sitting by your side as she regales the office with tales of Tinder dates gone wrong, and the next, she gets a promotion, busts out her ‘inner horrible boss’ ego nobody knew she had, and begins a reign of terror from the office from which she’s now ensconced.
It’s bad enough when that maniac is your boss, but what do you do if you realise you’re the new Dr Evil of the crew?
I share five signs that you’re drunk on power on the 9Honey website. You can read them all here.
We’ve all worked with that person. One minute she’s your happy-go-lucky co-worker sitting by your side as she regales the office with tales of Tinder dates gone wrong, and the next, she gets a promotion, busts out her ‘inner horrible boss’ ego nobody knew she had, and begins a reign of terror from the office from she’s now ensconced. It’s bad enough when that maniac is your boss, but what do you do if realise you’re the new Dr Evil of the crew?
“Power of this nature is designed to help those around us,” she says.
“It provides the courage to take action when it’s needed and it comes from knowing ourselves and being comfortable to share power rather than a focus on having power over others.”
It’s the willingness many of us have to wield said power over others where things can take a dark turn, Gibbings reveals.
“When a person wields power over others for their gain, it ultimately erodes corporate culture, team dynamics and leads to poor business outcomes,” she says.
“If we look at what Dacher Keltner wrote in his book, The Power Paradox, his research found that people who feel powerful are more likely to act impulsively – for example, to have affairs, drive aggressively, communicate with others in a rude and disrespectful way, and ultimately, by behaving this way, over time they will lose that power.”
Not to mention the affection and respect of staff, family and friends.
Could you be drunk on power?
Scored yourself a loftier job title lately? It’s a good idea to check in with yourself from time to time to understand how you’re behaving. Gibbings says people who are drunk on power:
- Start to believe their rights and needs outweigh those of others around them and act accordingly.
- Strive for outcomes that are purely based on their own needs rather than taking a collective approach as to what might be best for the whole team.
- Stop listening to the ideas and opinions of other people so that things over time essentially become ‘My way of the highway’.
- Genuinely believe they are the smartest person in the room and therefore ignore all feedback – particularly if said feedback suggests otherwise.
- Start to cheat and lie so that they always come out on top.
Your ‘say no to dictatorship’ action plan
Should you find you’ve been guilty of one of more of these behaviours, it’s time to stop, collaborate and listen, says Gibbings who really doesn’t say that because we’re paraphrasing her message which is essentially that.
“To have a healthy, thriving work environment, it’s essential to have a balance of power, a culture where power is shared and distributed and no single leader dominates over others,” she says.
To do that, it’s essential you change the way you think to adopt a growth mindset and remain open to feedback.
“Often people who work with powerful people will inadvertently absorb similar behaviour traits so you need to work at creating the right culture yourself by refusing to surround yourself with sycophants,” Gibbings advises.
“Be open to challenge and constructive debate, and create open and transparent decision-making processes which enable people to be involved.”
And above all? “Own your mistakes by seeking feedback and making amends.”
The difference between powerful and power-hungry is vast; which side of the fence do you want to be on?