GRE Issue Essay 97
“People in positions of power are most effective when they exercise caution and restraint in the use of that power.”
Since time immemorial, the quest to acquire power has been high in the priority list of most ambitious men. Who does not like to acquire a position of power that can be used to assert his importance and influence over others? In the modern world, why is everyone trying his level best to do well in his career? This is because all career-oriented people want to go up in the hierarchy, so that they acquire positions of power which can be used to their advantage. However, there is no denying the fact that even after acquiring a position of power; you may find yourself to be ineffective if you do not exercise caution and restraint while using that power.
People are given positions of power so that they utilize their authority for the betterment of the cause for which they have been chosen to be in that position. For instance, the person designated as the recruitment officer of a company has the power to select people for employment in the said company. What will happen if the recruitment officer resorts to unfair means for the selection of suitable candidates? It is likely that he may misuse his power to select candidates by receiving bribes instead of gauging their competence in carrying out the required job. The end result would be that unsuitable candidates would be appointed against the vacancies in the company and the position of the recruitment officer would be rendered ineffective for the task meant to be carried out by the person holding this appointment. It is true that easy money and additional privileges are very lucrative, but exercising caution and restraint while carrying out the tasks related to a position of power will make the person holding that position very effective in his job.
The most powerful positions in a nation are those of the political leaders. How many times have we seen a political leader throw caution to the winds and do what he likes while exercising the power given to him by virtue of his being elected to a powerful position and still be respected by all? The answer would be that whenever some politician has been caught misusing his power, he has been brought down from his position of power by the people who elected him. This is because people do not want to be led by dishonest and unscrupulous leaders. It is a common sight to see politicians play safe while exercising their power. Not only does such a stance earn them respect in the eyes of the population, but it also ensures that the people instill their faith in them. Actions speak louder than words. An effective leader is the one who earns the respect of his people by setting an example for them to follow.
Misuse of power is not related to corruption alone. People in power may resort to being authoritarian while imposing new regulations. They may even go to the extent of doing what they feel is right without taking advice from their subordinates. This is also a misuse of power as the people in power feel that they have the authority to make unquestionable decisions on their own. Such a behavior will probably make the position of power ineffective as the people working under such a person would be disgruntled by his indifferent attitude towards their opinions and they may perhaps not even support him when he needs it the most.
It is essential for a person who holds a position of power to have the support of his people. Then only can he utilize his position more effectively for the progress of the nation or the institution that has elected him to that post. All this can be made possible only if the person holding a position of power exercises caution and restraint while utilizing his power.