People who break the rules are perceived to be more powerful, according to a recent study (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/226108.php). Powerful people smile less, interrupt others, and speak in a louder voice. When people do not respect the basic rules of social behavior, they lead others to believe that they have power. Isn’t that interesting!
It is told more often that power is not something that people have but something that is ‘given’ or ‘contributed’ and that is opening up possibilities… Perceptions of power can be influenced!
People without power live with threats of punishment and firm limits. People with power have a very different experience of the world than people without it, the article mentions. The powerful have fewer rules to follow, and they live in environments of money, knowledge and support. It is not difficult to see this pattern in daily life. However it is not a guarantee for an unlimited free road: Strauss-Kahn is one of those who has just found his road blocked although he belongs no single doubt to the top of the world of money, knowledge and support.
Because the powerful are more free to break the rules – does breaking the rules seem more powerful? Yes it does, rule breakers are seen as more in control… “Norm violators are perceived as having the capacity to act as they please” write the researchers.
Isn’t this encouraging for all those who feel or are less powerful? When power is a perception, it is more possible to acquire it than when it is a formal thing. And the road to it is nice, breaking the rules can indeed be great fun – especially when you do it together with friends!
Creating and influencing perceptions of power is not an easy game, you need a good strategy. Think before you act and when you act, don’t be upset by the reactions you get! Standing way above those reactions after having broken the rules will strengthen the perception that you are powerful: good luck!