Members in the Media
From: The New York Times

When You’re in Charge, Your Whisper May Feel Like a Shout

The New York Times:

“Gail, I need to talk with you about something this afternoon. Can you come by my office at 3 p.m.?” I didn’t think much about my seemingly innocuous words, spoken to one of my department’s doctoral students one morning back when I was an assistant professor.

Gail showed up right on time, walking into my office with great trepidation. I proceeded to go over some small changes in a research project we were planning. After I finished talking, Gail sternly said, “Never do that to me again!”

“Do what?” I said with much confusion.

At the time of these exchanges, I had started to study the psychological effects of power. These experiences brought me face to face with how the words of those with power loom large over those with less power. This is a phenomenon I call the power amplification effect.

The problem is that the powerful are often oblivious to their impact. Holding power, as my research shows, reduces one’s capacity to appreciate how one’s words and gestures may affect others. As I studied power and reflected on my own experiences, I realized that three types of communications become amplified by power: direct communication, silence and ambiguity.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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