Power and responsibility

In the world we live today, we have seen the struggle to maintain a balance between power and responsibility. Certain misplaced ideologies and convoluted reasoning are often quoted in the quest for power, giving it the garb of responsibility towards a certain thinking or path, which often goes unquestioned (more out of fear than lack of opinion). This, unfortunately, reinforces one's faith in one's power and over time, it multiplies to gargantuan proportions.

20 Jan 2016 | By Suresh Ramakrishnan

The problems hidden in the above lines aren’t as simple and neither is a paragraph enough (or rather highly inadequate) to describe the rising imbalance between power and responsibility that we seem to see every day. It may at best throw traces that we can borrow to understand situations in a corporate set-up.
Power is a great addiction. You have to be conscious about its presence, you have to be conscious about its extent, you have to be conscious about its worth and you have to be conscious about its effects. It does not take much time to be consumed by it. There are ample of examples in business, politics, social and religious organisations and of course, fundamentalist and extremists groups. Power can get followers by the droves but may not necessarily comprise
of the ones who are able to effect course corrections before it’s too late.
I have personally learnt through many situations during my tenure, from being a young rookie to a manager, to the head of a department and to being the head of a company.
From experience, here are some points I wish to share.
Appreciating perspectives: A team comprises of several members with different backgrounds and experience. It is important to dwell on certain perspectives that may at first glance appear distinctly different but may well carry certain important points to the solutions we seek.
Allow yourself to be challenged: Experience is expected to bring in maturity but rarely is it gained through unbridled freedom. There would have been faults along the way that possibly got corrected through someone who knew the right solution. A mental framework that embraces alternate points and accepts them on merit has, more often than not, enhanced growth.
Earn respect not fear: If there is fear of retribution for voicing one’s opinion or suggestion, you will most likely be surrounded by people who would agree to everything you say without giving it an iota of thought. It only generates a false sense of accomplishment. Earning respect is an arduous long drawn process, but one which sustains because you have shared the sense of responsibility with many whose opinions have been valued.
Be honest with your work: This should also reflect in your commitment in the pursuit of excellence and your own conduct with fellow colleagues. You never know who is following you and thinks of you as your mentor and leader.
The listener is usually the one with an open mind. Patience to listen, absorb, assimilate and react with a balanced demeanour goes a long way in appreciating the four points given above.
This isn’t an easy subject to tackle and there are bound to be varied thoughts on where this balance begins or where it ends. Examples may abound on the cause and effect of a power and responsibility balance based on personal experience.
I have tried to jot down my thoughts based on reasonable number of years of experience but I am willing to stand corrected.