Feeling Powerful at Work Makes Us Feel Worse When We Get Home

By Trevor A. Foulk and Klodiana Lanaj

Have you ever interacted with a supervisor who was on a power trip and come away feeling disrespected, hurt, or upset? You’re far from alone. Abundant research shows that when people feel powerful, they tend to abuse others, supporting the notion that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”1 Many studies show that abused employees suffer distress, perform worse, are less creative, and are more likely to quit their jobs.2 Abusive power holders, on the other hand, seem immune to their own negative behaviors: Research suggests that they continue about their day as if nothing has happened.

But what if this isn’t the entire ...

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