448 Power and Perspective-Taking

Written by Robin N. Fatovic M.S.

Research by Wang, Yinan (2020). When power increases perspective-taking: The moderating role of syncretic self-esteem.Personality and Individual Differences, 166,110207. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2020.11020

Are effective leaders in power good at understanding other people’s needs and perspectives? Psychologist Yinan Wang from Beijing Normal University thought self-esteem or valuing oneself and one’s abilities might impact this ability.

With power comes influence, and with perspective-taking comes a connection to others. Dr. Wang believed that a good leader has a balance between power and perspective-taking based on self-esteem. 100 college students described a time in which they had more or less power than their roommates. They also filled out a survey on self-esteem and described their ability to understand their roommates’ perspective.

Results? When in a position of power, participants with higher self-esteem were better able to connect with others and understand their viewpoints. Therefore, leaders would benefit from placing an equal amount of energy on their own self-value and their ability to make connections with others. This balance can simultaneously improve compassion for themselves and others. People in power: foster your own self-worth and connect with others using your own experiences to understand them.

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