‘Mean’ power is power which one gains and/or wields through socially frowned upon ways and means. Others would describe such a person as Machiavellian, ruthless, amoral, or an asshole. Constrast it against ‘Nice’ power. Note that those seeking or employing ‘mean’ power may act as if they have ’nice’ power.

Example traits:

  • Seeks power for the sake of power
  • Plays to win
  • “What’s in it for me?” drives interactions, even ’nice’ interactions
  • Not genuine in thought, action, and/or emotion; employs Signaling
  • Plays others against each other for their own advancement

The ideal leader will employ a combination of ’nice’ and ‘mean’ power.