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Your Power -- "King on the Mountain": How well do you handle your position?


Clint Maun, CSP

Harry Truman regarded himself as an ordinary man with extraordinary responsibilities. As he later told a biographer, "If a man can accept a situation in a place of power with the thought that it's only temporary, he comes out alright. But when he thinks he is the cause of power, that can be his ruination."

Truman was talking about the leader's urge to believe they are the reason for the group's success. I, too, like other leaders have had to fight this urge several times. We call this position -- "king on the mountain". This position eventually gets all leaders into trouble. If you play "king on the mountain" long enough 1/3 of the group won't know you're up there, 1/3 won't care that you're up there, and 1/3 will be planning the rear-end assault up the mountain to get you.

All leaders who forget the reason for their power and how they got it will end up being toppled. To be successful in leadership you must continually realize your power is given to you by the perceptions of others. It can also be taken away by the perceptions of others based upon your actions. You must come down off of your mountain, stay in touch with the group, and then rise to the occasion when you need to. In this way you will truly be able to lead others and keep power from going to your head.

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