London - Far from being lonely at the top, people with power are happier than those without it, researchers have found.
Wielding power brings contentment and leads people to believe that they can be true to themselves.
Researchers conducted experiments to find out if holding a position of authority enhanced well-being through an increased feeling of authenticity.
Yona Kifer, of Tel Aviv University in Israel, and colleagues predicted that because the powerful can ‘navigate their lives in congruence with their internal desires and inclinations’, they feel as if they are acting more authentically – more like ‘themselves’ – and are therefore more content.
Their findings – published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science – revealed that those who felt powerful at work, among friends, or in romantic relationships were 16 percent more satisfied with their lives than the least powerful among the 350 participants who took part in the survey.
The effect was most pronounced in the workplace, with powerful employees 26 percent more satisfied with their jobs than powerless colleagues.
The happiness discrepancy was less pronounced for friendships and relationships because, said the researchers, friendships are associated with a sense of community rather than hierarchy, and having power in such situations is less important.
In other experiments, the team examined the relationship between power, feelings of authenticity, and general well-being, by manipulating each factor independently.
The results revealed that being in a position of power leads people to feel more authentic and ‘true to themselves’ by allowing their actions to more closely reflect their beliefs and desires. Feelings of authenticity, in turn, enhanced feelings of well-being and happiness.
The findings suggested that even the perception of having power could lead people to live more authentic lives, thereby increasing their happiness and well-being.
‘By leading people to be true to their desires and inclinations – to be authentic – power leads individuals to experience greater happiness,’ the researchers conclude. - Daily Mail