Posted in writing

Power Paradox


Powerful people are more likely than others to engage in rude, selfish, unethical behavior. This is called the Power Paradox, which means that people rise on their good qualities, but their behaviors worsens as they move up the ladder. The consequences can include tarnished reputation, undermining opportunities for influence, stress and anxiety among colleagues, and dragging down employees’ engagement morale.

How do you avoid the Power Paradox?

  1. Reflect on your feelings, and your feelings about others in the Agency.
  2. Practice graciousness by making thank you notes as part as part of your communication.
  3. Send timely emails to colleagues on a job well done.
  4. Publically acknowledge the value that each person contributes to the team.
  5. Seek opportunities to have one on one time with the people you lead.
  6. Delegate some important and high-level responsibilities.
  7. Give praise generously.
  8. Share the limelight. Give credit to all who contribute to the success of your team and organization.

You can outsmart the power of power paradox by practicing the ethics of empathy, gratitude, and generosity. It will bring out the best work and collaborative spirit of those around you. You will benefit from the dopamine-rich delights of advancing the interests of others.

Cite: Dacher Keltner, Harvard Business Review.



Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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