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Why people in power need to be attentive listeners

Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 01:15 PM
New York, Sep 18 : Leaders in powerful positions often fail to listen properly and take into account the perspective of others, thus jeopardising the impact they could have, shows new research.

The CEOs, politicians, military commanders and sports commissioners who are conditioned to see the world from someone else's point of view produce better outcomes, said researchers from the Columbia Business School.

"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 do not crash as you speed down the highway - perspective-taking is that psychological steering wheel," explained Adam Galinsky, the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business Management at Columbia Business School.

"When you anchor too heavily onto your own perspective and do not take into account the viewpoints of others, you are bound to crash," he noted.

The series of studies explored how those in positions of power might benefit from taking employees' perspectives.

"When individuals with power are turned into perspective-takers, they tend to handle difficult situations more successfully and with greater respect and fairness," Galinsky maintained.

They facilitate information sharing, a practice that helps groups make the best possible decisions when faced with complex problems.

Galinsky has found that combining power and perspective-taking has synergistic effects, producing superior outcomes to what each one achieved separately.

The research was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Agency: IANS
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