One of the clients I met today asked for advice on how to handle managers who are power trippers. I told him that I blogged yesterday about how power trippers block blessings. I also promised my dear readers that I will share ways to handle power trippers.
Before that though, I will explain why power trippers rule. I will do this so you will understand how to manage power trippers at work.
When you have experiences or questions, please feel free to share. I will keep your identity secret.
Are you ready? Let’s proceed.
How power trippers rule.
I will say it again, real leaders are not power trippers. Unfortunately, power trippers compete actively for leadership. They become bosses. And when they start enjoying the power, that’s the start abusing it.
Is it fair? No, it is not. But unwittingly, people allow them to rule.
There are many reasons or excuses why we capitulate to power trippers in offices. And for every one of us who allows power trippers to rule, our reasons (and excuses) are valid to us.
We don’t want to fight them.
One example is Maria who is a government employee.
She had worked in a government agency for ten years. Because of her excellent performance and service to the organization, she was awarded tenure by that previous organization.
Unfortunately, a power tripper, a co-worker, went to the powers-that-be and protested. The power tripper insisted that she’s not qualified because of a “new policy” that required employees to finish their masters in five years — or they’ll not be renewed.
Since she’s a few more units to graduation, the power tripper claimed she does not deserve tenure nor renewal in the institution.
It was a few weeks before Christmas. It was obvious to many that the power tripper, who is a kumare of Maria, saw Maria as a threat.
The tenure award was withdrawn. She resigned from her job and opted to transfer to a different government agency.
You may be asking, why did Maria allow a power tripper to win?
Understand that Maria has three children she has to take care of. Her husband was working abroad. The best option, she thought, was to transfer to another agency where she will have peace of mind.
Three of her co-employees were in the same situation. They fought for their rights because they believe the policy was not approved by any assembly and was contrary to the law. Because they fought for their rights, the promotion policy was not implemented. Unfortunately, the power tripper used it to kick a competition out.
Because we tolerate them.
A power tripper rule because they are tolerated. For the sake of “harmony,” people who are not yet power trippers allow them. They are like bystanders who watch while bullies are abusing others.
Another example is Belinda.
Three years ago, she was recommended for promotion because she was the most qualified. A power tripper, who has clout, blocked her promotion.
To appease the power tripper, the committee where she is also a member capitulated. They did not want to fight her. Anyway, Belinda is still young. She will eventually be promoted. She only needs to please the power tripper.
They said it is better to accept and seek God’s plan than to fight. Maybe, God has greater plans for her.
I am puzzled when people talk about God to justify what is wrong. I imagine them telling David not to fight Goliath because he was just a kid and God wants people to be humble. But, these people believe in their good intentions.
Consider that in Belinda’s situation, the committee sided with the power tripper. Though the members of the committee will not be denied anything, fighting a power tripper may cause them trouble. They are playing safe.
They hit you when you are weak.
A power-tripper wins because she hits you at your weakest spot. For Maria, the education and care of her children are far more important than fighting for her rights.
The individual committee members don’t want to offend power trippers. They opted not to fight for Belinda’s rights because it was not their fight. They don’t want trouble. God must have a greater purpose for Belinda.
As for Belinda, she’s a breadwinner. A promotion promises increased income. Fighting a power tripper may cause stress and possibly a non-renewal. She opted to play safe too.
They have minions.
And observe also that a power tripper is never alone. Some people applaud her actions. They believe that being on her side will benefit them and make them safe.
In Filipino, we call them sipsip or suck-ups. Others call them tuta (lapdogs). We don’t like power trippers and their minions, but we have to endure them because we need our work.
You can be a victim of power-tripping in an office with less than ten people. You can experience this in big organizations. You can experience this in churches, schools, and institutions where you expect people to know better.
Choose not to be victims.
If only we all dare to do what is right, there will be no power trippers. But we don’t have the same ounces of courage.
Let us not blame the victims of power trippers. They have reasons. What they need is our empathy and support. Blaming people won’t change anything. We have to find ways, even in small ways, to make change happen.
I will continue this article. I will show you how to reform and, when necessary, fight power trippers.
P.S. I encourage you to consider bringing to your organization my Exemplary Leadership Masterclass. It will help you tremendously in changing the way everyday leaders enable others to act.
I encourage you to read the following posts to help you accelerate your personal development and improve your leadership skills.
There will be no tyrants if there are no slaves. Yes, Jose Rizal did say this. It is as if our own subjugation is our own making.
But I do agree with what he said, to some extent. Power trippers rule because we allow them. The abuses of power trippers do not help any organization. It creates mistrust. We have to call them out. And this is a shared responsibility.
There is no peace of mind when we allow power trippers to continue. Document what they are doing. Find out what they are doing that does not help your organization. Enroll in the support of others so you won’t be fighting alone.