Leadership and Power

Leadership in the forms of strategic and supervisory leadership, is a necessity of operating a successful organization. Supervisory leadership is the behavior that provides guidance, support and coaching for daily activity while strategic leadership is a behavior that gives purpose and meaning to the organization while envisioning and creating a positive future.  This includes finding new opportunities for the organization and working with your team to implement change. It is important to note that companies’ ability to succeed is not just depended on their leadership capabilities but how effectively the teams they lead follow them. Note that all leaders and managers must also be followers at some point as well. When someone is promoted into a leadership position all they get at most is people working underneath them. They have to earn followers. I’ll cover this more in a different post.

Power is at the center point of being an effective leader. This power is really the ability to influence other people. What this means to you as a leader or manager is your ability to influence and motivate people to drive positive results for an organizations goals, regardless of the obstacles you may face from others along the way.

Leaders have five potential sources of power in the organization they manage. Legitimate power is the first. This empowers the leader to have the right or authority or tell others what to do and employees are obligated to comply with these orders. You must be careful when exercising this power because it can be easy to fall into a dictatorship where you are always telling people what to do and never taking any action yourself to help.

Reward power is probably one of my favorites, however please do not misconstrue this with how you manage your pets at home. People are people and not pets. A leader that exercises reward power incentivizes their team by controlling the rewards that the team values. People are more likely to be more productive and effective in the workplace if they are rewarded through incentives. Some things like a $2 spiff for every sales call closed, or a MBO Bonus for management for hitting key EBITDA goals for the company. However, not all rewards need to be monetary.  A simple High-Five or “Great Job” goes along way with your team. In my opinion it goes much further because you are displaying genuine gratitude to another person. People want to know they are doing a good job, especially by their leaders and managers.

Coercive power gives the leader the authority to control punishments through corrective action and more times than not people comply to avoid whatever negative consequences there may be. Implementing clearly defined policies and guidelines for behaviors in the workplace is beneficial in controlling this power.

Referent power is the power to appeal to others. This power lies below the surface and is one of the greatest powers when it comes to leading or managing an organization. This is a power that cannot be written down because you actually have to be genuine and appealing to your people. They will follow you because they admire. This is where leading by example comes into play. If you are a good leader, the people will follow you anywhere and will look to seek you approval and develop a desire to be like you. Most entrepreneurs or younger managers will work in a demeanor that emulates the work ethics, habits and styles of successful entrepreneurs or managers. If you are a leader that is disliked, and incompetent, then you will gain very little respect from those around you

Expert power is the foundation of leadership power. This is having certain expertise or understanding that people can believe in, learn from and gain value from. Now I’m not saying that you need to be an expert in everything that is your organization. That would be extremely difficult and near impossible. Your company would honestly more than likely fail. That is why you hire experts in those fields. Because they can do it better than you and a good leader knows that. What I am saying is that if you are looking to be CEO or a Leader or an Effective Manager, you need to be an expert in running an organization and develop an expertise in people skills. Know how a business should be run, and get to know your people on a personal level. While having power through the authority invested in your position, having that personal touch and ability to relate to your team goes much farther.

Manager Mint Media

Written by Manager Mint Media


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