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Overconfidence is a very poor quality of leadership but it is almost inevitable when you give people power.One study at Stanford asked half of the students to write an essay in which they felt powerful and the other half an essay where they felt powerless. The experimenter could roll a dice for them and if they correctly guessed the number they would get cash.3 Alternatively, they could roll the dice themselves.
As followers we should probably just be glad that there are people out there like your president, CEO, the captain of your sports team or the headteacher of your children who are willing to lead and get very little in return.1. In fact, the Whitehall study found that English bureaucrats lived longer the higher they climbed in the hierarchy, most likely because of the reduced stress caused by increased power and control. I was always a leader and one day felt it was giving me nothing but stress and health issues.
Gruenfeld et al., (2008) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.2. I gave up a powerful job and a position as a leader in the community to pursue artistic endeavors.
Nevertheless, powerful individuals chose to roll the dice themselves, presumably thinking they could influence the outcome of this entirely random event.
The lesson: Do not put your life savings in the hands of organizations that occupy a mega-luxury building with office staff in expensive suits driving very smart cars.#4.
When in power you die young Finally, having power means that there are always people out there who want to take it away from you.
The most risky profession in the world used to be the US presidential job, but this is now being overtaken by the function of police-officer in Iraq or Afghanistan.That may be good news for the world at large as he promised economic recovery and the end of wars. Among chickens, lions, deer, and gorillas it pays to be powerful because in these societies powerful males have (almost) exclusive access to females and thus all the offspring in the group are theirs – a considerable genetic advantage.Thus, there is a lot to gain by having power and therefore there is fierce competition among the males for such positions.How many wars started, because the individuals in charge thought they would easily win this war (think of Iraq, Vietnam, or the Second World War).How many financial organizations have recently collapsed because the people in charge thought they could gamble with people life-savings (think Lehmann Brothers or Enron).Power makes you selfish Power increases people’s sense of entitlement so that they feel they are more deserving than others despite not having done anything special.In an interesting study by Stanford University researchers, three students worked together on a paper and one of them was randomly selected to judge the performance of the other two. When the researchers gave each group a tray filled with cookies they found that the high power individual – who was not assigned as leader because of some special quality -- took more cookies and made a bigger mess when eating.People do not like you when you have power Power always creates asymmetry in social relations and this is bad news for leaders.One of the strength of leadership is the power of persuasion.The 2013 inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the USA was an important political affair.The ceremony, which lasted for several days, made Obama the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, and by extension turned Obama into the most powerful figure on this planet. Unlike in many other animal species, having power does not benefit you in any way if you are a human.