Power tripping prevents someone from becoming a good leader. Leadership is not only about power, it is a responsibility that we leaders must take to heart. Leaders create opportunities for people around them. They are happy when others are growing.

Let us talk about power trippers and why they prevent others from growing.

What is a power tripper?

Power trippers are bosses who abuse their rights or legitimate power only because they can. In this sense, a power tripper is a bully boss who prevents people from enjoying their work and derailing their career advancement.

The power tripper often employs microaggression. Through words and actions, they communicate that they have power over you and that they can make your life miserable if you don’t recognize their power.

Power trippers promote suck-ups, not excellent people. A supervisor who has power-tripping tendencies will find it very challenging to become a good leader.

Power-Tripping Public Servant

There is a government employee who filed an application for tenure. Since she joined the organization, she has been looking forward to becoming a tenured employee.

The bar is set high for them though.

While other government institutions require only six months, satisfactory performance, and a professional license for the same job function, her institution requires more.

Employees like her must have served for three years, finished a master’s degree, have satisfactory performance ratings for the last three years, and must be positively endorsed by the supervisor.

The government employee passed all the requirements. But a power-tripping supervisor will derail her tenure appointment.

She’s been serving the government for seven years, has finished her master’s degree almost two years ago, and has very satisfactory performance ratings for six years.

Unfortunately, her boss who had been giving positive recommendations for her renewal for the last six years refused to endorse her for tenure.

And what is the reason?

This supervisor reasoned that the employee needs to do more – and she is giving the employee another year to prove herself.

For her, it is not enough that the employee has more than satisfied all the requirements. The employee must please her.

The employee does not know what to improve though. The supervisor isn’t the kind of leader who counsels, coaches, or mentors. She has not provided any intervention since she became the boss of the employee six years ago. The supervisor kept the employee clueless about “what to improve”.

As I have mentioned, everything was positive. She tried to not offend the supervisor in any way because this supervisor kept telling subordinates that she has the power to hold their tenure appointment. She told them that they could not take doctorate degrees too without her permission. Only because she can.

Because of the supervisor’s refusal to endorse the seven-year government employee, the employee’s application for tenure was denied by the institution.

Have you met a person like this? Have you seen a power-tripping supervisor? Do you have this kind of supervisor today? Are you this supervisor?

Power trippers are everywhere.

You can find power-tripping supervisors anywhere. If you don’t expect to find them in government institutions, you’ll be shocked. They impose their own standards above and beyond what is required by law.

They are power-trippers. Power-trippers use their position to dominate you. They make you feel small. They keep you helpless so you will easily surrender to their whims and caprices.

Power trippers don’t want you to grow.

Worst, power-tripping supervisors don’t what you to grow. They are not happy when you get promoted. They are not happy when you shine.

That’s because they feel that excellent employees who want to advance in their careers may diminish their powers. They are insecure. They see you as a competitor, and so they’ll make it difficult for you to work.

I will tell you soon how to handle this kind of supervisor.

Stop Your Power Trip

I encourage you not to become a power-tripping supervisor. Because when you block blessings from flowing, when you stop people from growing, you are making people unhappy with your leadership.

They will not give their best because they know that you cannot work with people who know more than you do. The only source of your power is your position, not your capability. Believe me, it is not good for you to stop people from growing.

Don’t make yourself suffer too.

Be happy when others are getting a reward. Be happy when your subordinates, through their passion and perseverance, are recognized for their contribution to the organization. You will not become smaller when they become bigger.


People will think that you are a giant because you make people around you stand on your shoulder.

Be a real giant!

Being surrounded by suck-ups does not make you a leader. These people will leave you as soon as they find better opportunities.

You don’t have to be a genius who is adored by a dozen of idiots. Sorry for using that word. But power trippers can only work with idiots willing to become minions.

The surest way to be recognized as a giant, if that’s what you want, is to be surrounded by excellent people. And excellent people aren’t the type who will nod their heads every time you speak. They ask questions. They propose better solutions.

You may not always get the best people. Good leaders know that. This is why they coach their subordinates. They sit down with them to talk about their personal development plans. They support them when they want to pursue continuing education.

They are happy when their subordinates get promoted. The line that separates a power trip and a good leader is attitude.

A power tripper fears the presence of excellent people. A good leader appreciates excellent employees..

If you feel that you are insecure being surrounded by excellent and passionate people, stop your power trip. It won’t do you any good.

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