Insights, Leadership, Power

How Abuse of Power Leads to the Loss of Power

Insight #327

It’s never a good idea to put power on a pedestal.

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Let’s assume you are in a position of power at work. Come on! If you are a team leader in any form, then you have power. Agreed? Now, do you know that if you have power, you must use it? If you don’t use it, then nobody will know that you have it. And if they don’t think that you have it, then you’ve lost it.

But take care of how you use your power. Else you might abuse it.

Yes, abuse of power takes many forms. Just look around you. It’s everywhere. But I want to focus on one serious outcome of the abuse of power, one that can be truly disastrous for all. Groupthink.

Groupthink is the tendency of group members to take decisions uncritically and without due thought, because powerful members of the group recommend the decisions. (You’ve seen this happen, not true?)

How will you know that you have groupthink on your team? You have groupthink when your colleagues think they simply cannot fail; when they assume they are of one mind; when they believe that the group’s decisions are morally justified; when they put pressure on dissenters; when they practice self-censorship; or when they stereotype other groups as weak, ineffective, or stupid. (You’ve experienced this, haven’t you?)

Fear often causes groupthink, because no one in the group is willing to speak up or against.

So watch how you use your power else you’ll watch how poor decisions multiply in your group. And then your power will simply shrivel away.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

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