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Dacher Keltner on Is Power Corrupting You?

Is Power Corrupting You?

Podcast with Dacher Keltner

DELIVERED BY The Leaders Lab

Today’s Guest:

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.  He is also the faculty director of The Greater Good Science Center. Dacher’s research focuses on the biological and evolutionary origins of compassion, love, beauty, power, social class, and inequality.

Do you run towards or away from having more power?  Often perceived as the need to manipulate, coerce or dominate others, it turns out that power is actually the ability to make a difference in the world by influencing others.   As a result power is not something to be taken, but given to us through the practices of empathy, kindness, generosity and gratitude.  The paradox however is that as our power grows from these practices, it often ends up disconnecting us from the very people we serve.  So how can we navigate the power paradox?

Connect with Dacher Keltner:

Website –

You’ll Learn:

  • [01:35] – Dacher defines “power” as your capacity to influence other people.
  • [06:53] – Dacher explains that there are small things you can do to feel more powerful.
  • [09:05] – Dacher speaks about Adam Grant’s work on keeping your generosity right for the context.
  • [13:06] – Dacher explains how feeling powerful helps ignite your approach system by focusing on rewards, and when you’re not feeling powerful it trigger your inhibition system making you more aware of risks.
  • [15:05] – Dacher gives strategies to use to overcome the power paradox.
  • [23:32] – Dacher shares some thoughts on servant leadership.
  • [24:59] – Dacher explains what a future workplace looks like with shared power.
  • [26:40] – The Lightning Round with Dacher Keltner

Your Resources:

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week.  If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of this post.  

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Special thanks to Dacher for joining me this week. Until next time, take care!

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