People generally accept and understand the idea that those who have and are using power are the leaders. The reason that people associate power with leadership has to do with the idea that power can be used to get others to follow.
Getting others to follow is the reason that leaders need to have power. A leader that did not have a sense of power or ability to use power would have a difficult if not impossible time to lead.
Lets consider an example to demonstrate the necessity of power as pertaining to leadership. Imagine a manager who wishes to have the staff attend a two-week course outside of work time. Now imagine if the course is not a department or organizational requirement. In this scenario, the employees are not likely to want to do it, simply because the manager would prefer that they do it. If the manager has no power, the employees may be tempted to refuse the manager’s suggestion of extra training. However, this scenario is not a problem if the manager has the ability to exercise power. With power, the manager can convince and push the employees towards attending the extra training.
There are various types of power, which the manager could use. One, reward power can be used. If the manager offers a reward, this can help convince the employees to pursue the extra training. Two, informational power can be used. The employees can be convinced that the information they will gain from the training will assist them in their work roles. Three, legitimate power can be used. The manager could apply pressure to the employees by outlining his or her position and status within the firm. Four, coercive power can be used. A suggestion can be offered; where fear can be created that not going could lead to some form of punishment. Fifth, expert power can be used. Under the condition that the manager is seen as an expert, it increases the chance that the employees will follow the advice. Six, referent power can be used. Under the condition that the manager has the respect of the colleagues and subordinates, then the respect may be enough to convince the employees.
There are many influencers, or forms of power, which can influence whether or not the employees go on an optional learning endeavour. The manager’s role is to figure out which form or combination of forms of power he or she should use that will be most effective in leading the subordinates.
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