The “power paradox” and how it can suborn general counsel

Bill Mordan’s latest column for the ACC Docket, Nov. 2011 at 108, talks about a variation on Lord Acton’s observation that “power corrupts.” Mordan explains that socially adept people tend to climb the career ladder well, but once they are in charge, some of them suddenly change, and for the worse: the “power paradox.” He says, “Men and women tend to become more self-centered when they gain power.”

This fall-off in commendable behavior may manifest itself with newly-promoted general counsel. The top of the heap can topple a heap of good behavior (See my post of Dec. 21, 2005: emotional intelligence declines with rank; Jan. 13, 2006: three consequences of managerial incompetence; Feb. 15, 2006: ten dumbest management mistakes of general counsel; Aug. 22, 2006: the Peter Principal; Oct. 12, 2006: what happens if a general counsel is a poor manager; Dec. 31, 2006: the imperial general counsel; March 18, 2007: general counsel who are bad managers; Aug. 4, 2007: “jerk” behavior; Aug. 10, 2007: personality disorders among general counsel; Jan. 19, 2008: general counsel as a bully; and Oct. 18, 2010: the warping psychology of power.).

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