Misuse of Authority at Work

Working in a healthy, motivating and accepting workplace is one of the fundamental attributes that employees look for in a company. Feeling like they have the ability to speak up, to learn and to grow professionally and personally, is a leading factor for joining a team. Employees want to build strong relationships with their managers to build strong communication habits. However, company cultures are not always positive and engaging, as the misuse of authority at work can have a direct impact on employees and their work.

The abuse of power is defined as any excessive exercise of a power by an individual. It is when a leader uses his/her capabilities outside the usual scope of action, exceeding the limit of their rights. Sometimes, employers make decisions in their primary interest rather than the best interests of the company and they lose empathy, which has a direct negative effect on their workers. They can be manifested in different ways such as intimidation, humiliation, threats, or mockery.

When a poor manager is permitted to remain in place, the productivity and morale of employees can suffer and result in higher turnover rates, increased stress, low morale, and poor hiring decisions. It becomes more difficult for companies to retain employees, which decreases productivity and turns out to be costly for recruitment activities such as advertising, training, and onboarding new employees. Similarly, the strain of working for a bad manager causes physical and emotional harm that directly affects work performance. When workers are overwhelmed, they lose confidence and become easily irritable or withdrawn, affecting their productivity. Often such leadership styles end in micromanaging targeted employees building constraints and reducing creativity and independence.

In the healthcare industry, there has been a rise in unbalanced power relationships between different roles. Studies show that patients have not been feeling empowered to make certain decisions. Nurses/physicians maintain control of decisions, as factors identified that patients lacked medical knowledge. To balance the power, information should be shared and simplified to promote open communication and decision making together with patients.

However, there are ways to strive for power-balanced relationships at work by creating a productive environment with responsibility, honesty, and ethics. Managers should be aware of their impact on their workers and should focus on being engaging and motivating leaders rather than abusive. There are many positive impacts of being an open listener as well as being approachable and trustworthy.

Therefore, to work successfully and efficiently, managers should take into consideration their teams and employees. Having a healthy relationship in which leaders are active listeners, engaging and allowing their workers to speak up, enables employees to feel comfortable and motivated in their workplace. Striving to achieve a power-balanced relationship at work can make it easier to communicate.

References:

  1. Preventing Power Tripping Abuse at Work, September 2020, Welcome to the Jungle.
  2. Ethics in Leadership The 8 Rules to Protect Corporate Power, July 2012,
  3. Negative Impacts Bad Manager, August 2020, SmallBusiness.
  4. How to Strive for Power Balanced Relationships at Work, January 2018, Forbes.
  5. The Potential Misuse of Power by Healthcare Professionals Nursing Essay,February 2020,NursingAnswers.