You’ve reached the top through hard work, good business practices, and great interpersonal skills. In order to continue success at the top, though, you need a quality that is often overlooked by leaders: perspective.
“Effective leadership is like a successful car ride. To go places, you need gas and acceleration—power is a psychological accelerator. But you also need a good steering wheel so you don’t crash as you speed down the highway—perspective-taking is that psychological steering wheel,” said Adam Galinsky, the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business Management at Columbia Business School. “When you anchor too heavily onto your own perspective, and don’t take into account the viewpoints of others you are bound to crash.”
Galinsky is the co-author of a study, “Acceleration With Steering: The Synergistic Benefits of Combining Power and Perspective-Taking,” that shows when those in power view the world from another’s viewpoint, they produce better results in decision-making and business.
Here are three main points the researchers discovered, courtesy of the Columbia Business School:
1) Power diminishes perspective-taking: Although power propels leaders toward their goals, it leads people to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, insufficiently adjusting to others’ perspectives.
2) Perspective-taking alone is not enough: People with the propensity to focus on what others are thinking tend to be effective navigators of their social world; however they often lack the agency necessary to assert themselves and make change.
3) Power + perspective-taking = an effective leader: When individuals both have power and are turned into good perspective-takers, they a) tend to handle difficult situations more successfully, and with greater respect and fairness and b) facilitate information-sharing, a practice that helps groups make the best possible decisions when faced with complex problems.
Galinsky suggests that there is a synergistic effect when one combines power and perspective. The end result produces better outcomes than if used separately.