What is power? Who has it? How do we get it? What happens to it when we get into power?
These are a few of the questions this incredible book sets out to answer and wow – this little book delivers a powerful punch! (Pardon the pun)
The author, Dacher Keltner, is actually a researcher at Berkeley who has studied the dynamics of power for two decades.
Power is everywhere. It is the, it is air out there. Some people will have it, some people don’t… some people use it properly, some people misuse it. I think a lot of our injustice that we see in the world comes from the misused use of power. But, power is not bad in and of itself and can be used for so much good. However, the misuse of power is bad!
I talk a lot about compassion and empathy…about giving and generosity…about setting up systems of empowerment and support. Sometimes we think these ideas are just for charitable organizations or non-profits but there is more and more research coming out that these principles work in the business world. Because of course they do!
Here’s what Keltner says about power: He says we gain power by doing good in the world. And I want to read this to you. Ready? It says this by constructing reputations groups, shaping individual’s capacity for influence in two distinct ways.
“First reputations create opportunities for them. Studies find that if you have a reputation for advancing the greater good others will direct more resources to you, they will seek you out to form friendship and alliances. They will collaborate with you more cooperatively and effectively people with reputation for being selfish and out for personal gain tend to be excluded from exciting areas of innovation and collaboration and occupy more peripheral places within social networks. Reputations are amplifiers for capacity to influence.”
Wow! He says, when you do good in the world, you do good over a lot of times, people begin to trust you. You gain a reputation for doing good people will give you resources!
If you are stingy and you don’t do good in your social group it will hurt your reputation.
But here’s the paradox…when we rise up the business ranks or we rise up political ranks, we are doing that because we are pushing resources out. We are doing good for other people,
we are compassionate and generous and gaining power. BUT…then we get to the top and we stop doing those things that got us there. We become greedy and seek the resources for ourselves! Ahhh!
And here’s the most powerful thing. He says, Don’t stop doing what got you there. Now you can really make a difference for people because now, you have a lot of power to do good. So don’t stop doing what got you there!
These principles are a must for all business leaders everywhere! And these are part of the key leadership principles that my Village Mindset Model is based around – do good for others, use compassion and empathy, be generous, empower, support – and you will not only help create a culture of belonging but you’ll also increase power for yourself and people will trust you!
This is absolutely the future of leadership and I’d love to help you tap into it for your own leadership and for the health of your organizational culture!