As always, the above quote is a classic one from the great man, Abraham Lincoln. We see how power changes people overnight. Look around you and see the games people play to become more powerful. Somebody wines and dines the political honchos, some others use “power” brokers, some work as hangers on, people are ready to do anything to get close to the power centre or become one themselves.
Many crimes, including rapes are about power. Politics is all about power, and ofcourse the corporate world is about power. What does power do to you ? Power makes you feel invincible, that you could do anything..it also makes you believe that you can’t go wrong, because everyone scrambles to make your word come true. Reality is morphed to suit your vision of it.
A person’s true character is also revealed when he/she gets power. Look at what power did to Hitler, Indira Gandhi, Stalin, Idi Amin, Prabhakaran… The list is endless. There are subtle behavior changes that you will observe as people get powerful within organizations – the decisions are quicker, the examples are about themselves, there is less tolerance of opinions different from theirs, values are spoken about, but value transgressions are explained away with business needs …. The Enron fiasco is all about power corrupting good people and terribly so.
How to safeguard yourself against the seducing powers of power ? Some things you could do – never take yourself seriously, laugh at yourself atleast once a day; go out every weekend and spend time in an old age home or with the terminally ill, the message will hit home that you are powerless against aging and death, you can delay them, but not deny them; try and learn something new all the time, enrol yourself for art classes, karate classes, drama or singing classes.. Just find something that you are really bad at and enrol for classes, it will keep you grounded. Even if you are able to do one of these, the grip that power has over you, will reduce.
Power is a great responsibility – your getting intoxicated doesn’t help. Just as drunken driving doesn’t work and could lead to fatal accidents, being drunk on power and driving an organization/country/team also will lead to fatal accidents !! Get a cab and let the sober one drive :):)
1 thought on “The seduction of power !”
Now we know why at google hiring for ‘humility’ comes much before hiring for technical competence 🙂
Well said , Bindu