Power Doesn’t Corrupt; It Reveals

Chairs and Coffee by Murielle (http://www.sxc.hu/profile/murielle)

So. Popular or right?

The word “No” is feared a little too much, I think.

I hope whenever I need to say it, I’d say it.

Excerpt of article:

LBJ biographer Robert Caro observed that power doesn’t corrupt; it reveals. Research by UC Berkeley psychology Professor Serena Chen suggests that people who are naturally selfish grow even more selfish if they attain power, while people who are naturally selfless and giving become more so with power.

Roderick Kramer, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford has studied the biographies of hundreds of powerful people. He notes the flip side of power — that the lowering of inhibitions frees the powerful to shake up organizations, fearlessly challenge the status quo, do the right thing regardless of unpopularity, and follow a more daring vision. This orientation is exponentially enhanced by the fact that others react differently, more deferentially, to powerful people. Henry Kissinger discerned that power is “the ultimate aphrodisiac.”

The point, Kramer would argue, is not just that power reveals but also that it changes people. Such transformation explains why so many powerful people, imbued with talent, luck and leadership skills, tumble in flames like Icarus. The only way to truly harness power is first to understand what it does to you — in other words, the consequences of lowered inhibitions.

So what is required to remain uncorrupted — to handle power with grace?

The experts say that to remain grounded, it takes a deliberate effort, a sense of humor about yourself and a willingness to become more, not less, reflective.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity,” said Abraham Lincoln, “but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

-END-

Read the full article here:
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