Whenever I take on a new leadership role, I’m reminded of the famous words of Baron Acton – “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s tempting to want to lead by your ego when you’re in charge. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen. Good bosses that have lost sight of what it means to be a successful leader, simply by letting their own personal agenda take precedence over what’s good for the business. Even I’ve had some moments where I had to step back and ask myself, “Is this what is best for the company or just for me?”
As you begin to take on new leadership roles, possibly when you hire a freelancer or by outsourcing jobs, you also run the risk of being corrupted by power. So what can we do to guard against falling into this trap?
- Refocus on the good – If you have authority, remind yourself what good it can potentially accomplish. For example, does your power allow you to push for innovation or envision new possibilities? Or do you find yourself using your power to squash new ideas that threaten your position?
- Acknowledge the dark side – Denying or ignoring power’s pull toward corruption is the first step to going down that dark road. None of us are perfect and we are all potentially corrupted by power. Keeping this reality in mind can help you keep your dark side in check.
- Be challenged by others – Sometimes we have to rely on others to remind us who we are. Surround yourself with people who are willing to call you out if you start to abuse your power. Yes-men and sycophants need not apply. Only true friends will dare to tell you to your face that you’ve gone too far.
- Keep your ego in check – Everybody thinks they are correct, but not everyone is. Just because you’re in a position of authority doesn’t mean you’re always on the side of right. A little humility goes a long way in staving off the corrupting influence of power. Always consider the possibility that you may be wrong, even when it feels so right.
- Don’t let the egos of others control you – More often than not, I come across an ego trying to exert themselves onto me. Little do they know, that just sets my alpha female personality into overdrive. So, I am constantly mastering ways to lead.
William Pitt, the Elder, once said, “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.” How has too much power affected your behavior negatively? Have you ever been witness to someone close to you going a little mad with power? I would love to hear from you.
Looking to start a business or own a small business? Please consider buying my book, How to Start Your Business with $100 because it will save you thousands of dollars and you should find what you’re looking for.