A recent study by PsychTests.com reveals that people with a strong need for power tend to have less satisfying and fulfilling relationships.
Some people can wield a sword like an olive branch. Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Nelson Mandela – people like them used their power to bring about justice, social change, or freedom. Then there are those who, when given even small amounts of power, do more harm than good. Power-hungry people tend to be overly-competitive, self-serving, and perhaps even narcissistic. But what is it like to be a family member, friend, or colleague of a power-hungry person?
According to a study conducted by PsychTests with their Dominance Test, power-hunger and wholesome, happy relationships do not go together.
Researchers from PsychTests collected data from 786 people and divided them into three groups:
- People with a low need for power/authority
- People with a moderate need for power/authority
- People who are power-hungry.
When PsychTests compared the groups based on how they rated the quality of their relationships, the analyses revealed the real depth of the “social cost” of need for power:
- When asked to rate the quality of their professional relationships, 57% of people with a low need for power rated their relationships as good or excellent, compared to 54% of those with a moderate need for power and only 33% of the power-hungry.
- As for the quality of their friendships, 63% of people with a low need for power rated their relationships as good or excellent, compared to 60% of those with a moderate need for power and 42% of the power-hungry.
- When rating the quality of their family relationship, 61% of people with a low need for power reported their relationships to be good or excellent, compared to 57% of those with a moderate need for power and 38% of the power-hungry.
- When it came to their romantic life, 40% of people with a low need for power rated their relationships as good or excellent, compared to 38% of those with a moderate need for power and 19% of the power-hungry.
- When asked if they ever had problems in their relationships as a result of a need to control the relationship or to control others, 14% of people with a low need for power said yes, compared to 24% of those with a moderate need for power and 35% of the power-hungry.
And if that’s not enough incentive to convince people that power isn’t a prescription for happiness, the researchers at PsychTests also discovered some rather ominous facts about power-hungry people:
- 88% of the power-hungry are willing to use intimidation to get what they want (22% for those with a moderate need for power, 3% for low).
- 94% of the power-hungry see authority as a way to improve their social status (44% for moderate, 5% for low).
- 94% of the power-hungry would rather be the best than do their best (45% for moderate, 8% for low).
- 71% of the power-hungry believe that having power is the only way to get people to respect them (12% for moderate, 1% for low).
- 94% of the power-hungry believe that being in a position of power makes them better than others (13% for moderate, 0% for low).
- 90% of the power-hungry believe that with power, they can say and do whatever they want (15% for moderate, 1% for low).
- If given a position of power, 37% of the power-hungry would put other people’s needs first (52% for moderate, 82% for low).
“There is one very important point to keep in mind: power itself is innocuous – it’s the motivation behind the desire for power that determines whether a person will use it wisely or abuse it,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that people who use power for self-serving reasons are more likely to alienate others, even those they care about. It isn’t that power brings out the worst in people; it just magnifies what already lies within, whether it’s a sense of inferiority, narcissism, selfishness, or a need to control. These are all traits that can make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have healthy personal and professional relationships.”
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