Leadership and Power

This article looks at the different type of power that management use in leadership positions, positional power and personal power.

“The most effective leaders appear to exhibit a degree of versatility and flexibility that enables them to adapt their behavior to the changing and contradictory demands made on them

Ralph Stogdill (The Leadership Handbook)

It is not enough for a leader to just have different styles of behaviour, to be effective they must be able to adapt their style to different situations and the needs of stakeholders and employees.

Beyond the style of behaviour every leader needs to be able to assess how that specific style of behaviour impacts others, knowing exactly how they are using the power in the relationship in that circumstance and at that point in time.

“While leadership is about the process of influencing people, power can be described as a leader’s influence potential.”

The effective delegation of work can transfer or disperse power. Depending on how a leader is looking to build and sustain teams they can work more as a Servant Leader and seek to disperse the power or to hold tight to control and wield the power to drive behaviour.

Leaders have two types of power: Positional Power and Personal Power.

Positional Power is derived from the authority associated with a position or title, it is directly related to the perceived status within an organisation.

Personal Power is the degree to which others follow the leaders vision, loyalty creates followship which is the source of personal power. Personal Power is founded on the level of trust between a leader and team.

Management is an appointment, leadership is earned.

Machiavelli asked the question is it better for a leader to be feared or loved by his followers? Leaders today need to be able to distinguish the roles as supervisor and friend, they will need to be able to put aside friendships to gain respect and help the team develop and grow over the longer term.

Trust is a glue that holds organisations together, without it the organisation will never achieve its potential as people withhold due to fear, limiting the opportunity to deliver full effectiveness.

Synopsis of an article from Changing Winds
Leadership and the Responsible Use of Power
by Jim Taggart
Published: 4th October 2020

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