Does a powerful leader reduce the effectiveness of teams?

We examine the impact of subjective power on leadership behavior and demonstrate that the psychological effect of power on leaders spills over to impact team effectiveness. Specifically, drawing from the approach/inhibition theory of power, power-devaluation theory, and organizational research on the antecedents of employee voice, we argue that a leader’s experience of heightened power produces verbal dominance, which reduces perceptions of leader openness and team open communication. Consequently, there is a negative effect of leader power on team performance. Three studies find consistent support for this argument. The implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Source: “When power makes others speechless: The negative impact of leader power on team performance” from Harvard Business School Working Paper 11-087

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