The Dean’s Disease

My response to The Dean’s Disease: How the Darker Side of Power Manifests Itself in the Office of the Dean:

The influence of power has strong psychological changes in a person’s behavior.  Of course it does.  Most every strong influential environment will affect a person’s behavior in some way or another.  Situations shape personalities, in fact being a college student shapes a person’s behavior.  Being a construction crew apprentice shapes a person’s personality.  I’m not saying that it changes a person’s personality but it influences it in some detail.  When you’re the one in control people tend to except your opinion as more influential, because it is.  There is some level of respect that comes with being in a leadership role as well, most of the time anyways, as long as you’re a better leader than you are an ‘asshole’.  It is also true that there are people that have learned over time to just ‘obey’ people in power.  It’s been taught to them and they don’t challenge it.  Not all people challenge authority, in fact I would think most people don’t.  This somewhat, automatically gives a leader that deserved or maybe undeserved power.  It’s just situational.  Also, not all people in power have a reason to be followed.  As ‘a taste for power’ states, once you have that power, you don’t want to give it up.  This causes you to change your beliefs in order not to negatively affect your position of power.  In order to avoid this ‘deans disease’ there are some points to take.

I love the quote in the article that says “you can judge the quality of a dean by the quality of the people he has surrounded himself with”.  Replace the word ‘dean’ with ‘person’ and you can apply this quote to any situation.  I believe in order to really get a feel for people, listen don’t talk.  Ask question and listen.  Spend time out with people and get feedback, then you can start to form your opinion about somebody.  So when you trying to fill a leadership position really get to know your candidates and the people they surround themselves with.  When you have a person in that leadership role already, and they begin to get the deans disease, surround them with people that help fix the disease.  The people you surround someone with can be extremely influential and positive.


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