The Golden Rule

Face it, most people don’t work their way to the top without stepping on a few toes first. But as we all know, the respect of your peers and your “likeability” factor can take you much further as you climb the corporate ladder. But what happens if you are given the position of power? Do you stay the same likeable person, or does it get to your head? PRSA Tactics asked this very question and found through surveys that “the vast majority of rude and inappropriate workplace behaviors, such as the shouting of profanities, come from those with the most authority.”

People in position of power often rely on stereotypes and generalizations when making judgments and can rationalize unethical situations. Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said that “people with authority tend to behave like neurological patients with a damaged orbito-frontal lobe: the part of the brain that controls empathy and decision-making.

We had a meeting this week about “managing up,” the idea that by doing your job effectively, you are also helping to ease the stress and workload of people higher-up than you. Being the final person in the chain of command isn’t always pleasant, but you can learn a great deal from your peers and vice-versa. Executives need to remember this as well. The people below them are often the eyes and ears of the company and that could be used against them in the end.  Case in point, Jenny the assistant, who quit her job through a series of whiteboard messages online. Of coarse it was a hoax, but the idea that co-workers have the intimate knowledge and the technological resources to complete this stunt on their own should have executives thinking twice before calling anyone a “HOPA.”

Article: Greg Beaubian, “Does Authority Turn Good People Into Bad Leaders?”

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