Do people change when they get promoted? Does Power go to their head? Yes

Being around a long time, over 30 years in the tech industry many coworkers and friends have risen the executive ranks.  Some people change little, some people change more.  And, after a while it is not so much fun talking to the executive as they care more about their agenda.

NPR has a study that provides some data on this topic.

When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart

August 10, 2013 7:41 AM

Even the smallest dose of power can change a person. You've probably seen it. Someone gets a promotion or a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they're a little less friendly to the people beneath them.

So here's a question that may seem too simple: Why?

The point made is power changes how the brain operates.

But if you ask Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, he might give you another explanation: Power fundamentally changes how the brain operates.

Obhi and his colleagues, Jeremy Hogeveen and Michael Inzlicht, have a new study showing evidence to support that claim.

I have always resisted being an executive.  

So when people felt power, they really did have more trouble getting inside another person's head.

The paper cited is here.  The conclusion from the paper is as follows.


Despite these possible limitations, the main results we report are

robust, and strongly suggest that power is negatively related to

motor resonance. Indeed, anecdotes abound about the worker on

the shop floor whose boss seems oblivious to his existence, or the

junior sales associate whose regional manager never remembers

her name and seems to look straight through her in meetings.

Perhaps the pattern of activity within the motor resonance system

that we observed in the present study can begin to explain how

these occurrences take place and, more generally, can shed light

on the tendency for the powerful to neglect the powerless, and the

tendency for the powerless to expend effort in understanding the