When Does Power Become Abusive And Can You Recognize It?


When does power become abusive and can you recognize it?
As a leader, one of the worst things we can do is abuse the power that has been granted to us.

Unfortunately, this abuse can and will take place if we are not careful. It doesn’t happen overnight though, there is a progression of steps that take place.

Step One: Surprise and unbelief. The leader is amazed that they “get this power.”

Step Two: Confidence and Self-Worth. The leader feels that this power is what defines them. They have an “I need this” attitude.

Step Three: Fulfillment. The leader begins to believe that this power is not earned but rather deserved.

Step Four: Greediness and ego. The leader here no longer works to earn respect but rather demands it from the staff.

We all know or may have worked for someone like this, or maybe that someone is you.

There are many examples throughout history of the rise and fall of leaders. They all seem to have five common characteristics.

👉 They have a “do what I say, not what I do” mentality.

👉 They believe others “owe them.”

👉 They try to “cover up” mistakes instead of fixing them correctly.

👉 They only care about their agenda and will.

👉 They believe those below them are expendable.

One of the greatest displays of this can be found in the Bible. It’s the story of King David and Bathsheba found in 2 Samuel 11:1-27.

If you, or someone you know seems to be going down this slippery slope of power, take heart. There are some steps to stop this from happening.

Step One: Remind yourself daily that it is a privilege you “get to do this.”

Step Two: Use your leadership to help others become more confident in themselves, building up their self-esteem.

Step Three: Receive fulfillment by serving others not having others serve you.

Step Four: Respect those you lead, help them learn and grow. This will keep your ego in check and greed far from you.

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Photo credit Jehyun Sung on Unsplash