Daily Mail: Do you have a power-hungry boss? - Michelle Gibbings

I reveal the red flags that signal power problems and offer advice and strategies for ways to create a healthy working environment in this article which first appeared in Daily Mail – you can read the full article here.

Making work ‘work’ is a challenge we all face and one that’s much easier to handle if the organisation you’re employed by manages its leaders well.

But if managers and bosses are left to free range, and their behaviour goes unchecked, myriad problems can occur, according to workplace expert Michelle Gibbings.

She explained power in the workplace is essential because it’s needed for functional leadership, but she said issues can arise when those in charge use power as a force of control over others.

Here, FEMAIL takes a look at Ms Gibbings red flags that could signal your boss is on an epic ego trip, and what you can do about it to create a more stable and healthy working environment.


In an organisational context, both the negative and positive aspects of power play out, said Ms Gibbons, author of Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work.

‘When a person wields power over others for their own gain it ultimately erodes corporate culture, team dynamics and leads to poor business outcomes.’

She says research shows people who feel powerful are more likely to act in impulsive ways like having affairs, driving aggressively, or speaking disrespectfully to others.

‘Over time, by behaving in this way they lose power,’ she cautions.


The concept of a ‘balance of power’ – one used in political and diplomatic circles ensures that no single nation is so powerful they are able to dominate the world.

This idea also applies to the workplace too. Ms Gibbons said: ‘To have a healthy, thriving work environment it’s essential to have a balance of power.

‘This is a culture where power is shared and distributed, and no one leader dominates over others.’


The careers expert suggests that if these warning signs apply to your situation, you may want to consider taking action, depending on the relationship you have with your boss.

‘If they have a growth mindset and are open to feedback… start a conversation about how you are working together,’ she said.

Ms Gibbings believes this strategy can be effective because a healthy team is more able to manage any negative effects.

If on the other hand, your boss is closed to feedback, finding ways to work around them and ensure their behaviour doesn’t start to influence you, becomes key.

‘Often people who work with powerful people will inadvertently absorb similar behavioural traits,’ she said.

She recommends a proactive approach to this situation by surrounding yourself with those who agree with you, allowing space for constructive debate and owning your mistakes as well as looking for feedback.

‘Create open and transparent decision-making processes which enable people to be involved.’