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Seven Principles of Good

Power: Machiavellian Myths


and Power for the New World
April 17, 2009

Dacher Keltner
University of California, Berkeley
keltner@berkeley.edu
www.greatergoodscience.org
A Roadmap
• Myths of Power and Leadership
• The Power Paradox
• The Language of Social Intelligence
• 7 Principles of Socially Intelligent
Leadership
Machiavellian Legacy of
Power
• Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions
• Law 6: Court Attention at All Costs
• Law 12: Use Selective Honesty and
Generosity to Disarm Your Victims
• Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally;
• Law 18: Keep Others in Suspended
Terror: Cultivate an Air of
Unpredictability.
Myth 1: Power is Votes, Cash, and
Muscle
• Eminem or George W. Bush?

• The Power of the voteless and


penniless
What is power?
 Power is the capacity of A to influence the state of B,
so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes.

A B
“The fundamental concept in social science is Power, in the same
sense that Energy is the fundamental concept in physics...The laws of
social dynamics are laws which can only be stated in terms of power”
- Bertrand Russell

 There are many ways you can influence others’ behavior, some
more
effective than others.

“Power is the ability to get people to do things they did not want to do
The Many Sources of Power
Source Critical Question Example

Resource control Do you have A manager who


discretion over allocates more vs.
something they want? less prestigious
projects to others

Expertise Do you have A “star” member of


knowledge they need? the team whose
knowledge is
unmatched
Relationship Do they want to A coworker with
maintain a whom you have a
relationship with you? personal bond

Personal qualities Do they respect you A team leader with a


and your reputation? strong track record
of success
Myth 2: Power is
Unidirectional
• Charismatic Leaders

• Authoritarian Parents

• Sole Superpowers
Power is Bi-Directional:
It is Acquired and Given
• Affordance processes

– Politeness tactics
– Honorifics

• Constraint Processes
– Reputation
– Gossip
Teasing as an status affordance
process

1 0.67
Hostility of Teasing

0.5 0.37
0.21
0 Low Power Target
Low Power High Power High Power Target
-0.5
Teaser Teaser
-1

-1.5 -1.21
Reputational Discourse
• Reputation: Based on ability to
advance group’s interests

• Distributed: Conceptions of Peers

• Discursive: Communication, gossip


Gossip as a power constraint
process
• Relationships Between Sociometric Ratings and Personality
Measures and the Likelihood of Being Nominated by Other
Group Members as a Target of Gossip
» Gossip Target Identification
• Sociometric Ratings
• Well-known .34*
• Liked -.33*
• Status in house -.08
• Status deserved -.35*
• Admirable reputation -.51*
• Teased .24+
• Personality Measures
• Agreeableness -.39
• *Machiavellianism .28*
Myth 3: Power goes to
Machiavellians
• Hence a Prince who wants to keep
his authority must learn how not to
be good, and use that knowledge, or
refrain from using it, as necessity
requires.

The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469-


1527
The Social Engagement
Hypothesis
• Table 2
• Correlations of the Big Five Dimensions with Social Status (Summary of Three Studies)

• Dormitory men
Dormitory women

• Measure Fraternity
Sorority
• men Time 2 Time 3
women Time 2 Time 3
• _____________________________________________________________________________________________
• Big Five

• Extraversion .47** .48** .40** .45** .39* .36*
• Agreeableness .12 .08 .17 .24 .01 -.01
• Neuroticism -.31* -.39* -.46** -.21 .08 .14
• Conscientiousness .23 .16 .19 .03 -.20 -.31
• Openness ce -.05 -.03 .00 .11 -.12 -.24

• Note. Correlations replicated across the studies are set in bold. *p < .05; **p < .01.
Beyond college students
• Emotional Intelligence and
Leadership in Organizations

• Emotional Intelligence and power in


the Israeli Army
The Power Paradox:
The Experience of Power Makes us
Less Emotionally Intelligent
Leaders
• Having elevated power leads to:
-goal directed behavior
-less careful attention to others
The Power Paradox:
The Experience of Power Makes us
Less Socially Intelligent Intelligent
2
1.8
1.6
1.4

Cookies Eaten
1.2

• Having elevated 1
0.8
0.6

power leads to:


0.4
0.2
0
High Power Low Power

-impulsive behavior
-less careful
Accuracy in Judging Partner's Emotions
0.25

attention to others
0.2

0.15
High Power
Low Power
0.1

0.05

0
Women Men
Power makes people less
attentive to the concerns of others
4.6

Listener's Compassion 4.4

4.2

4 Low Power
Listener
3.8
High Power
3.6
Listener

3.4

3.2

Low High

Talker's Distress
Low Power Makes People Need
More Emotionally Intelligent
Leaders
• Being lower in power leads to:
– Increased feelings
of vulnerability
– Stress, anxiety, fear,
nervousness
– Vigilance to threats
The Socially Intelligent Leader

• Human power requires continual social


intelligence
– Negotiations, mediation, resource allocation,
maintaining morale

• Social Intelligence =
Liking
Trust
Respect
Strength
Empathy
Credibility
Openness
“Push” versus “Pull”
strategies PULL
PUSH
 Forcing  Attracting
Commands Finding common ground
Directives Visioning

 Asserting  Bridging
Stating expectations Involving
Listening
Evaluating
Disclosing
Using incentives (pressures)

Effective managers use “pull” strategies


the vast majority of the time
Example of flirtation
• Attention getting phase

• Recognition phase

• Exploration phase

• Keeping time
The nonverbal language
• Emblems
• Regulators
• Illustrators
• Self Adaptors
• Emotion
Liking
Emotion and Touch

Frequency Choosing Correct


70

• What are the 60


50

Emotion
40 Correct Label

origins of liking? 30
20
10
Next choice

- Smiles

An e
e

r
G ion

t
a
ge
v

us
ud

Fe
Lo
ss

sg
tit
pa

ra

Di
m
Co
- Laughter
- Friendly touch
- Modesty
- Rapport
Trust in fellow citizens
No
rw

10
20
30
40
50
60
70

0
ay
Ch
G ina
er
m
an
Ta y
iw
an
In
di
a
US
M A
ex
ico
So Gha
ut na
h
Ph Afri
ilip c a
pi
ne
s
Br
az
il
Trust and the Health of Nations
Building Trust the Easy Way

Oxytocin and Trust

60
% Who Give Away Maximum

50

40

30

20

10

0
Oxytocin Control
Building Trust
• Emphatic Gestures
• Direct Gaze
• Steady posture
• Steady, variable vocal tone

• Avoid
– Face touches
– Fidgeting
– Speech hesitations
Respect
• The ability to give honor, status to others
• People in general care an enormous amount about respect
– 70% of people surveyed would forego a pay raise for a more
prestigious job title
Increase in productiv ity

50% 43%
• Providing acknowledge-
40%
ment increases productivity
30% 23%
as much as monetary
incentives 20%

10%
Monetary incentives Monetary incentives
+ acknowledgement
0%
The Importance of Respect

• Neutrality, respect, transparency


– Procedural justice can be more important than
distributive justice

• Show trust in your subordinates


– The act of trust by itself encourages
trustworthiness
• Why? Evidence points to oxytocin levels in the brain;
people are predisposed to trust those who trust them
– Micro-managing and frequent check-ins can harm
this process
Showing Respect
• Orient posture, prose to other
• Affirmative Head Nods
• Responsive Gaze
• Deferential displays
• Back channel linguistic responses
Strength
• Strong gestures
• Powerful Emotions: Anger
• Avoid submissive emotions
• Dominant posture
• Lean forward
• Expressive gestures
The Power of Empathy
• Understanding as leadership

• Mimicry and trust


Power and Trust

• The Approach/Inhibition Theory of power

• Being lower in power leads to:


– Increased feelings
of vulnerability
– Stress, anxiety, fear,
nervousness
– Vigilance to threats
Credibility

What signals strength?

• Upright posture
• Formal vocal tone
• Speech patterns – lack
of hesitations, qualifiers
• Physical approach
• Facial expressions
Openness

• Laughter, humor
– Facilitates creative thought, integrative
negotiations
• Open ended questions
• Teasing as playful negotiation
• Devil’s Advocate
Examples of potential impact
of cultural attributes
Interaction norms Interests

Importance of relationship- Individualistic vs. cooperative


Individualism building goals; definitions of fairness

Importance of status, signals Perceptions of control,


Power distance of respect recognition

Respect, politeness norms, Maintaining face


Honor
revenge

Dialecticism Social harmony, agreement Cohesion


Summary
• Myths of Power
• Power Paradox
• Languages of Social Intelligence
• Seven Principles of Good Power
THANK YOU!

www.GreaterGoodScience.org