Power Causes Leaders to Miss Opportunities to Connect People
|Source: Blue Diamond Gallery|
Blaine Landis and his colleagues have conducted new research regarding how power impacts leaders’ actions with regarding to brokering connections among people in different parts of their organizations. They derived their findings from two studies. The first focused on workers in a marketing and media agency. The second study was an experiment conducted with 330 people who were working full-time at various companies.
Landis’ work demonstrates that power tends to diminish people’s ability to identify opportunities to connect people who could benefit from sharing information, resources, ideas, etc. On other hand, if someone identifies the opportunity for them, powerful leaders are quite willing to help connect people. The converse is true for those with low power. They are more likely to spot opportunities to broker connections among people, but they are less willing to take action to make those connections happen.
This study confirms what we have seen in a number of other studies about power. When leaders have a great deal of power, they act differently. In many cases, they act in ways that are not effective for their teams and organizations. Many factors can increase the power distance between chief executives and their subordinates. One key factor, of course, is tenure. Leaders can become entrenched in their positions over time, and as their tenure in office lengthens, they accumulate more power. Certain deleterious effects can occur though as their power grows. Leaders need to work on enhancing their self-awareness in these situations, so that they can identify the negative effects that their behavior may have on the organization.