Here is a question of practical philosophy (the best kind, in my opinion). How does one maintain a position of authority without becoming stupid in the process? When you are in a position of authority, you have to keep up the impression that you are wise--that your decisions, judgments, and orders are just. But this very need to keep up appearances (in order to inspire awe and respect in those in your charge) gives you a perverse incentive to not admit when you make a mistake. An intelligent person might be able to keep up this facade for a while, but I think most people start to fall for it themselves, actually believing they are nearly infallible. When authority is forced upon you, as it sometimes is, what do you do to keep from becoming ridiculous? edit: I guess I need a disclaimer here. I understand that authority is a necessity for many organizations (families, schools, businesses, military outfits, etc.) to work well. I'm just asking how do you do it, especially in situations where the respect is not exactly automatic. If you are a charismatic professor and your adoring students hang on your every word, then you don't need to invoke such gems of argumentation as "Because I say so" or "I'm the boss and what I say goes" or "You have been given a direct order" or something similar.