Escaping the corruption of power,
How do you avoid being corrupted by power?

“Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.” Frank Herbert

Leadership at its core is all about power and influence.

But when does it become your worst nightmare? Think about this…

You got that big promotion at work today! Congratulations! Next thing you know, you are sitting in a corner office making the really important decisions. You have legions of employees under your command that will do whatever you want. No one can stop you! You are untouchable!

This may seem like an over dramatization, but this happens all too frequently in the corporate world. Think Enron, Goldman Sachs, or GM. All companies that failed in times of crisis. Why? They practiced “exception making” where they believed the rules that apply to the rest of us didn’t apply to them.

It’s no secret that management egos get out of control and suddenly, the power they were trusted with is being misused. They behave in ways that disregard the common good. They become intoxicated by their power.

So how do you avoid being corrupted by power?

Don’t forget where you came from

Remember your roots. Unless you’re born into a fortune, we all had to work our way to the top and remembering your struggling will help keep you grounded and thankful as you assume your new position of power.

Sometimes even keeping a token around is handy. Maybe it’s your first mousepad or the motivational post it pad that your boss gave you when you were still working hard, but whatever it is, keep it around to remind you where you’ve come from.

Where are your self-imposed restrictions?

Rein yourself in. If you feel yourself starting to spin out of control or you see signs that you might be acting fairly arrogant, take some of that humility you have saved up and use a dose.

You are not the all-powerful colleague. No one is making gilded images in your likeness. This takes a little practice and you might even feel embarrassed the first time you realize you’re acting egotistical, but tell yourself you’ll be okay and it’s a great thing that you caught it before it got too bad.

The Gods have spoken

Remind yourself that no one is untouchable. Even the mighty fall. History is full of examples, so anytime you start feeling untouchable because of your power; remind yourself that just because you’ve been given power does not mean it can’t be taken away in a heartbeat.

Walk in their footsteps

Find a mentor. The best way to learn how to use your newfound power in productive, honest ways is to find a mentor whom you see as the pinnacle of good leadership. This person can be someone inside the company or someone in your life. Make sure they help to keep you grounded and offer you the honest advice you need not to become corrupted with power.


It takes courage to stand up for what's right and avoid being corrupted by power.  Courage is just one of the 7 Influence Traits you need to strengthen in order to create a successful life.  Click here to learn more about the 7 Influence Traits and other highly valuable traits that work together to increase your influence potential!


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From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina