Power and Leadership

The topic that I chose for my semester project is Power and Leadership. The main points within the main subject I am focusing on are Power in Organizations, Sources of Power, The Dark Side of Power, and Empowerment. I will define each, apply them to every day business situations and theoretically analyze the context. The topics that have chosen will give good insight to what Power and leadership really are and how they are used in are everyday businesses organizations to give a general understanding of what it means to be powerful. The first topic that I have chosen is Power in Organizations.

Power is the ability f one person to influence another. They can use this power to become leaders and to manage businesses. Power also brings influence on the behavior and attitudes of other people. This can be applied to customers and/or suppliers. The demand for power is common among the business world. There is a difference in power and authority. Only people who hold formal positions have authority, whereas all people at any level of an organized company have the power to influence other people. Authority is power. It is power on another level. Power is obvious and understood, while authority is vested in a particular position.

An example of such a position of authority would be the CEO of a company or a GM. The distinguishing aspect however lies between the position and the need to become more powerful. Where there is power, there are also consequences that go along with it. It depends on how the power is used and to whom it is inflicted. The consequences range from a number of general effects. There are three specific examples of this. They are commitment, compliance, and resistance. Power is the stronghold for the three fold outcome that is brought on through consequences.

The first consequence is commitment. It can be as simple as following through with the ask at hand or lack thereof. It is best defined in this way, “when the followers welcome the influence process and accept it as reasonable and legitimate. ” (pig. 98) Commitment can be shown through an employee’s ability to complete the task they are given by the person with more power than they possess. They will change their ideals to match that of the higher authority. If the CEO of a company says that his proposal is going to change, in the mind of the employee, they agree to change theirs as well.

The employees, or people of lower authority, believe in the success of the company, they are fully committed the leader’s ideas. The outcome of commitment is accepting without a doubt that whatever the leader says goes. The second consequence mentioned above is compliance. It is asking someone to do something or perform a job, but they are not committed to it. They go along with their leader simply because they have to; it is party of their job. They could be doing it out of fear that they may fail or become jobless if they do not follow through. What sort of leader wants their co-workers to appear weak and not as dedicated as they should be?

That is why the business leaders of the world want the best they can get? No boss wants to ask twice or o complain about an employee who, to put it simply, just doesn’t care enough. The third possible reaction or consequence of power is resistance. They do not actively agree with their leader or authority figure and passively resist it. This can affect their efficiency as a worker and can set a poor example for the rest of the employees around them. They can set a low standard of thinking that they do not have to do the job because there are other people who can do it instead.

They may have the mind set that they are superior or too busy to deal with something that they do not fully agree with. This particular consequence s crucial to the reputation and status of the employee within the company. One important factor within power and leadership is the distribution power. In organizations today, they feel that concentrated power can be detrimental to an organization’s performance. When say this I mean that more equal power should be distributed throughout the company, bringing about a higher performance in an organization’s operating systems, to make decisions.

Power should be equally distributed throughout, with the exception of the authority figures. If companies didn’t have Coo’s or managers, there would be too many power starving people and much more chaos. They keep the business flow organized. They make sure that their employees follow through with their jobs and support the business’s purpose. Within distribution of power, there are differences in the ways cultures view its importance. For example, “in some cultures the implementation of power sharing is likely to face more obstacles in a culture where sub ordinance do not rely heavily on their superiors. (pig. 99) This is contrary to the common culture that most of us know in our world. For example, in the United States, people would be more likely to respond to managers that they favor or take liking to. On the contrary, people in countries over seas would be more prone to follow directions that are given by managers who have legitimate power or authority. This goes to show how cultural influence has not only an obvious affect, but a psychological one as well. It can propose ideas that need to be honored because the culture believes that it is a better way of doing things.

They believe that if they perform a certain way, they are doing things the best way. Within power in leadership, I have stated the reasons and consequences that appear most relevant. In most companies, the want for power is greatly desired. The more powerful one individual is, the more successful and respected they become. They have a greater influence to the people who follow them, who are looking for a way to find a safe position of status. They need to feel that they are efficient enough to do their job and to make sure people see that quality in them.

Sources of power are part of the second focal point within power and leadership. There are five genuine sources of power. They are legitimate power, reward power, coercive power, expert power, and referent power. All of these prove to be valid in getting a deeper insight to the sources of power. The second aspect within sources of power is using individual sources of power. I am going to talk about these after the five sources are explained. The first source of power is legitimate power. It is “based on person holding a formal position. Others may comply because they accept the legitimacy of the position of the power holder. (pig. 100) it is going to have the most fulfillments out of all other powers. It is better described as having power, but abilities to give rewards and punishments are limited. Once leaders loose their position of authority, they lose their influential meaning for others. The second source of power is called reward power. It is “based on a persons’ access to rewards. Others comply because they want the rewards the power holder can offer. ” (pig. 100) Once the access to the rewards or punishment is taken away by the organization, people start to resist the leader and his demands.

This by far is one of the worst powers to orchestrate your company due to the potential resistance level of the employees’ situation. The third source of power is coercive power. It is ‘based on a person’s ability to punish. Others comply because they fear punishment. ” (pig. 100) It also has the attention reaction for resistance. Punishment serves as an intimidator in this case. Fear of punishment is not the same as respect of authority. Employees are more likely to resist when they know that they will be punished because it takes away their dignity and respect for themselves in a working environment.

The fourth source of power is expert power. It is “based on a person’s expertise, competence, and information in a certain area. Others comply by, they believe in the power holder’s knowledge and competence. ” (pig. 1 00) This power shows as having a potential reaction in the compliance area. If a leader proves to be educated and well trained in an area of business, the employees will abide and follow his wants and demands. If not however, the drive to succeed and meet the demands is absent. The fifth source of power is referent power. It is “based on a person’s attractiveness to find a friendship with others.

Others comply because they respect and like the power holder. (pig. 100) This type of power has the best potential for committed employees. They agree with their surroundings and the people who hold authority over them. It is not like an intimidating or difficult work place, but one that agrees with their skills and beliefs. When the superior and employee get along and hold a relationship that is positive, it accounts for a mutual understanding of the business requirements. Along with these five sources, there is the individual source and how it is used. Influence comes into play because it is related to power.

Power brings about change in compatibility. Powerful leaders could or could not influence subordinates’ behaviors, or influence can occur without a specific source of power. Personal appeal depends on referent power and usually occurs with co- workers. This is likely to relate to commitment. Inspiration and influence erasure workers, while superiors moderate their organizations. Power has to come from some where, whether internal or external. It stems forth from great leadership skills and a dependable foundation. The five sources of power, along with the individual sources tie in to form the analysis of why there is power.

The third major aspect of my topic of Power in Leadership is the dark side of power. There are causes of the dark side, consequences, and solutions that go along with it. This means that all power is not used with the same mind set. Some is used for the common good of all people, while other forms are one died. Basically the dark side of power is when leaders succeed at the employees’ expense. Too much power without accountability can lead to many negative consequences. Power without accountability is blamed for many excesses, ranging from financial waste to fraud to sexual harassment. Some of the causes of the dark side of power are.

They come from leaders distancing themselves from others. They put their abilities up on a pedestal, portraying their view of themselves as being better than others around them. One of the biggest causes of corruption of power is due to too much praise of the deader for a simple task, thus saying that the leader is always right. Another one is when the leader putts his thoughts above all others, saying that they aren’t good enough, because whatever he says goes. A prime example of such a corruption is allowing a retired CEO to come back and receive benefits and all of the company incentives, while stepping down from the CEO position.

Jack Welch) Along with causes of the dark side, there are also consequences. On a general level, leaders distancing themselves from others in the organization lead to poor decision making because leaders lack the information needed to make good judgments. Another consequence of excessive power is a sense of immorality. In this case, the leaders see themselves subject to different rules than their subordinates. This can result in unethical and illegal activities, while expecting their subordinates to follow. One last consequence is the devaluation of followers.

Jeopardizing their self worth to better the superior’s standings is another way to put it. This can result in an overly assumed sense of control and make the follower feel weak and incompetent. Some of the solutions that could bring follower’s closer to their leader are involving their leader in day-to-day activities, reducing the follower’s dependency on the leader, and involving outsiders in decision making. These things may not prevent excessive centralization of power and abuse, but can help. Through the causes, consequences, and solutions associated with the dark side of power, many things are opened up for discussion.

They are just three ways to break down what the dark side of power actually is and who is associated with it. By gaining a deeper understanding of the dark side of power, preventions and modifications can be applied to deter these things from coming between a leader ND a follower. The fourth and final aspect of my main topic is Empowerment. It involves sharing power with sub ordinance and pushing decision making and implementation power to the lowest possible level. The goal is to increase the power and independence of all employees in organizations.

Empowerment of employees can be a good motivational tool because it provides them with the ability to make decisions on their own, which brings out a sense of accomplishment. There is a process to empowerment, as well as important factors, and an affective impact that I will explain to you. The steps of empowerment aren’t set in stone. They are up to the person to take on for themselves, if they want to become an influence. The thing to remember is that many managers talk about empowerment, but few of them fully don’t understand the concept.

In say this, the managers might be opposed to using this approach in their organization based on his or her knowledge of it. When using empowerment, leadership factor come into play in regarding that a role of the leader is to make available a supportive and friendly work place so that the co worker is up for sharing his ideas and thoughts. The biggest thing about empowerment is the impact it has. You should encourage them to make sections and tolerate their mistakes. This may be a process that takes a while to getting used to but you have to stick with it or else the employees will think they have failed.

Empowerment is a good tool to bring out new ideas and thoughts to the organization. It gives employees a sense of self worth and they become more motivated when they have some independence. All in all it is a good idea only if you approach it the way I have explained. A thing to think about is that two minds are better than one when it comes to completing a task. I n conclusion I have talked about powers and leadership. The information that eve given all ties together in the sense that in an organization you have people with different types of power.

The source of the power is what type of power they have and how the convey it to the employees. The most important topic I think is the dark side of power thus allowing your organization to become unfit for normal operation. Just because you have power doesn’t make you superior to other people it just puts you in charge. That is why I feel that empowerment it such a great idea it allows every one to have somewhat the some status or feeling in the company, this would allow you to be a better cohesive organization in hole.