Many management experts share the widespread opinion that power and leadership are one of the most effective tools for the effective management of an organization.
A reader who is well acquainted with the various schools and management theories knows that as such they do not urge action. They are very interesting as intellectual exercises, but not as a guide to action. If we liken them to an ivory tower, leaving this tower, we fall into the real reality. One manager’s job is to get others to do what he likes.
This statement suggests that some management experts believe that management theories are less important than the effective use of leadership status, influence, and power. This view arose before the advent of the managerial profession.
If the manager overestimates the role of power and leadership, he will make a mistake, because for the effective management of an organization it is necessary to implement all management functions (planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling – Reference: “The strategic planning process in the organization”, https://newia.info/strategic-planning-process-organization/).
Decision-making, management, and leadership are types of activities that permeate the entire management system.
It is impossible to effectively implement the functions: planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling without effective leadership.
Table of Contents
Management in the organization
Leadership is an essential element of effective management. In an organization, it is carried out by its leaders (formal and informal). However, effective leaders are not always effective leaders at the same time.
The effectiveness of the work of one leader can be judged by the degree of his influence on others. Sometimes effective leadership can be an obstacle in the life of a formal organization.
For example, an informal leader with strong influence may make the organization’s staff produce a smaller volume of low-quality products or services. Reference: Different types of managers, https://bvop.org/journal/types-of-managers/
What is the difference between management and leadership?
Management can be defined as a mental and physical process that encourages subordinates to perform pre-prescribed tasks and duties. Leadership can be defined as the process by which a person influences the behavior of group members. The head of a formal organization heads that organization and has delegated authority within certain limits.
As long as the leader is a leader (such) not by the will of the organization. The members of an organization know who their leader is, but sometimes they do not know who leads them.
The actions of a leader are not limited to any authority or structure. Very often a leader can be a person who does not hold any formal position in the hierarchy. And in some situations, subordinates can lead their superiors.
The head of an organization is a person who is both a leader and effectively manages his subordinates. Its purpose can be defined as follows – to influence others in such a way that they perform the work assigned to them by the organization.
Leadership is the ability to influence the behavior of individuals and groups and to guide their efforts to achieve the goals of the organization. Reference: “Trends and features of modern management”, https://www.policymatters.net/trends-and-features-of-modern-management/
Need for power in the organization
In each organization, the manager has formal authority. But he also needs power, because he is dependent on people who are subordinate to him and others who are not subordinate to him. In short, in an organization, in addition to formal authority, the leader must use some power.
In the various structural units of the organization, the manager depends on his immediate superior, his subordinates, and colleagues. These groups are part of the manager’s environment. Without the assistance of these people, the manager cannot perform his functions effectively.
Leaders depend indirectly on people
In addition, many leaders depend indirectly on people and organizations that are outside their organization – suppliers, consumers, competitors, unions, government agencies, etc. In an ideal situation, all these people and forces should be happy to cooperate with the leader and to provide him with everything necessary to achieve the goals of the organization.
Unfortunately, in practice, there are no ideal situations. Things are far more complicated. Even when the manager has specific powers to direct the efforts of his subordinates, he cannot carry them out. In many situations, subordinates refuse to comply with a manager’s request, which is part of his authority.
Modern workers are far more educated than their predecessors and are much less humble in accepting traditional power. When this problem does not arise, the leader very often depends on people who are not formally subordinate to him.
For example, very often the line manager is highly dependent on staff management for information and services. In some situations, the staff has only advisory powers and in the implementation of their recommendations, this staff depends on the line management.
This dependence on factors and people that cannot be managed directly is the main reason for the difficulties faced by management. Very often these difficulties reflect not only on the feelings of the leader but also on the inability to perform his work.
Ineffective interaction with these numerous “unmanageable” forces reduces its effectiveness and contribution to the activities of the entire organization.
Power and influence are tools of the manager
Power and influence as tools of leadership are the only means available to the leader in such situations. If the leader does not have enough power to influence those on whom his effective activity depends, he will not be able to obtain the resources needed to achieve goals through other people.
In other words, power, although sometimes misused, is a necessary condition for the successful operation of the organization. More categorically, without power, there is no organization and no order.
Balance of power in the organization
The concept of dependence confirms another very common, untenable notion of power. Many people believe that having power means being able to impose one’s will, regardless of the feelings, desires, and abilities of the victims. If this were the case, all leaders in an organization should have the power to exert extreme influence over their subordinates.
But we know that is not always the case. Now, most of the specialists in the field of management believe that the influence and power depend on the person who is influenced, on the specific situation, and the abilities of the leader himself. There is no real, absolute power, just as no one can influence all people in all situations.
Power of subordinates
Usually, the leader has power over his subordinates. They depend on him in terms of salary increase, job assignments, promotion, expansion of powers, the satisfaction of social needs, etc.
In other situations, however, subordinates have power over their leader, ie he depends on them in terms of the information needed for decision-making, informal contacts with people from other units, the influence that subordinates have over their colleagues, and their ability to perform the tasks assigned to them.
A typical example of the power of subordinates over the leader in the extremely favorable contracts that famous artists and athletes can receive.
Some research shows that even prison guards are to some extent dependent on prisoners. The guards have the right to file a report against the prisoners for disobedience. Sometimes these reports give the impression to senior management that supervisors are unable to maintain order. Therefore, the wardens committed some breaches of the rules by the prisoners in exchange for more submissive behavior.
The leader knows that his subordinates are powerful
The leader must realize that sometimes his subordinates have strong power and are willing to demonstrate it. In such a situation there may be a conflict between the leader and subordinates, to waste efforts to achieve the goal.
That is why a good leader always tries to maintain a reasonable balance of power. This means – enough power in subordinates to achieve goals, which does not cause a sense of injustice and hence disobedience in them.
In addition to subordinates, the manager may have power over his colleagues. For example, if the vice president of finance or production depends on the data processing department, then the head of that department will have some authority over it.
The growing importance of computers in organizations leads to an increase in the power of the staff of the department that deals with data processing.
The more information a manager needs, the greater his or her dependence on those who have to provide it. This means that the power of others over him is growing. In a sense, a leader can increase his power by enabling his colleagues to find that they are dependent on him on resource issues necessary to perform their tasks. Such resources can be access to important people, information, services, money, convening meetings, etc.
Forms of power and influence
We have already noted that to lead, one must have influence, and to influence, one needs power. Common sense suggests that the holder of power must be able to control the things that are important to the performer. Or the subordinate becomes dependent on the possessor and he can force him to act as he pleases.
People are addicted because they are constantly meeting some needs.
All forms of influence encourage people to fulfill another person’s desire because it depends on him to meet their needs, he can create obstacles to their satisfaction or make the contractor expect that the need will be met or will not be met depending on his behavior.
People always make suggestions and guesses about the consequences of one or another of their behaviors. The manager also imagines the effect of his influence on the behavior of his subordinate.
As a result, the manager and his subordinate have a similar or different manner of behavior in their future relationships.
Power can take many forms. According to the classification of American researchers French and Raven, power has five main forms.
Coercive power – The contractor believes that the person influencing can punish him in such a way as to prevent him from satisfying some urgent need or may cause him some other trouble.
The performer believes that the person influencing can meet his or her basic needs or provide pleasure.
Expert power (power of the expert) – The contractor is convinced that the person who has influence has special knowledge that allows him to meet needs.
Reference power (power based on example)
The characteristics or qualities of the person who influences are so attractive to the performer that the latter wants to look exactly like him (the influencer).
Legal authority (authority based on law)
The executor believes that the person who influences has the right to give orders, and he is obliged to obey these orders. The subordinate carries out the orders of the influencer, as he is convinced that this execution will lead to the satisfaction of his needs.
Therefore, legitimate authority is very often found in the literature as a traditional authority (authority based on tradition). All leaders use legal authority because they are delegated the authority to govern other people who are below them in the hierarchy.
This form of authority is particularly effective when the subordinate obeys the orders of the leader only because he is at a higher level in the organizational hierarchy.
These basic forms of power are the tools by which the leader can force his subordinates to perform work and tasks aimed at achieving the goal of the organization. At the same time, they are tools that can be used by informal leaders to hinder the achievement of the organization’s goals.
Fear in the workplace
The workplace provides rich opportunities for the exercise of power using fear and coercion, as many human needs are met there. For example, the fear of losing a job is common to almost all people.
Many executives often use this fear in certain circumstances, and even a hint of dismissal or demotion usually yields immediate results. When the subordinate is reliably protected from harsh threats, the leader may use more subtle methods of blackmail and fear.
It can also be called influence through positive support. The promise of reward is one of the oldest and often most effective ways to influence other people’s behavior. The remuneration-based authority provides positive support to subordinates for desired behavior on their part.
The subordinate does not resist this type of influence, as he expects to receive remuneration in one form or another. In the context of motivational theory, the performer imagines that there is a high probability of receiving direct or indirect remuneration to satisfy a need, there is a belief that he can do what the manager wants from him.
Disadvantages of positive support
In a sense, this power plays its role only on the condition that the manager can correctly determine and offer the remuneration that coincides with the notions of remuneration of his subordinate.
In practice, however, managers are subject to many restrictions and have little opportunity to provide remuneration.
Each organization has limited resources and can devote a strictly limited amount of resources to staff promotion. The authority of the manager to offer material incentives is regulated by company policy and many other rules.
Legal authority. Influence through traditions
Historically, tradition has been the most common tool for influence. The manager uses it to satisfy the need for protection and belonging to his subordinate.
This method can be successfully applied only if the subordinate has mastered those values that would allow him to believe that his boss can meet his needs.
Influence, with the help of tradition, is possible only when the norms of culture, which are external to the organization, uphold the philosophy that submission to superiors is desirable behavior.
Reference power (power based on example)
This is a power that is built not on logic, not on any traditions, but the strong personal qualities or abilities of the leader. In this way of influence, the subordinate is identified with the leader.
But in contrast to impersonal influence based on tradition, this kind of influence is entirely personal. Even in cases where the subordinate and the leader have never met, in the subordinate’s ideas the relationship with the leader is built on an equal footing.
The subordinate can imagine that he has a lot in common with the leader. He may even think he looks like him. Here are some characteristics of a person who applies this form of power:
The impression is created that this person radiates energy and charges others with it.
Impressive appearance. This type of leader is not necessarily handsome, but he is attractive, possessive, well-behaved, and able to behave in society.
Independent character. In their pursuit of prosperity and respect, these people are independent and powerful.
Good rhetorical abilities. They have the natural ability to speak and expressive abilities for interpersonal communication. Reference: “Project Communication Plan Example & How To Make One”, https://www.kievpress.info/project-communication-plan-example-how-to-make-one/
Admiration for the perception of their personality. They feel especially comfortable when others express their admiration for them without falling into arrogance or selfishness.
Dignified and confident manners
A manager who has the above characteristics can skillfully use the power based on the example. This type of leader often serves as an example of the behavior of their subordinates. Reference: “Business skills, management, and internal competencies and a sense of success”, https://w-europe.org/business-skills-management-and-internal-competencies-and-a-sense-of-success/
Power of the expert: Influence through reasonable faith
Influence through reasonable faith is exercised as follows: the subordinate imagines that his supervisor has special expertise concerning a project or problem. He accepts in faith the values and knowledge of his leader. In this case, the influence is considered reasonable, because the decision to obey is made consciously by the subordinate.
Reasonable faith explains why some professionals can exert effective influence in organizations when they do not have formal line authority. When the specialist is right, the line manager, as a rule, should listen to his opinion.
The manager uses the power given to him by the linear powers to pass the decisions of the specialists to the other members of the organization.
By accepting the reasonable opinion of the specialists, the line manager frees up the time that he would otherwise need to thoroughly check each recommendation of his specialists.
In this way, the line manager can use this time for other activities or focus on solving more complex tasks. A complete refusal to accept the advice of experts of faith may mean that the line manager is more concerned with his problems than with the satisfaction of higher needs. Reference: “Top tips and trends for managers in 2021”, https://www.businesspad.org/top-tips-and-trends-for-managers-in-2021/
Limitation of the “reasonable faith” method
The formation of reasonable faith usually takes a long time. For example, experts sometimes try for years to gain authority among line managers, so that their opinion is accepted without reservation.
This does not mean, however, that reasonable faith is weaker than other forms of influence. In some cases, the influence through reasonable faith can change the balance of power leader – subordinate.
To the extent that the leader needs information and recommendations for subordinates, the power of the latter increases. In other cases, the subordinate may have more power than his superior.
Persuasion and participation
The abilities of the subordinate are already close to those of the leader. If this is true, then there is a growing need for cooperation with subordinates for the leader to influence him.
Theory and practice know two forms of influence that can encourage the performer to actively cooperate. These are conviction and participation.
Modern managers can become more effective leaders in their organizations by improving their habits in these two types of influence.
Influence through persuasion
To influence someone else, one does not need to punish or encourage, have the charm or have high competence. One of the most effective ways to influence is persuasion.
Belief can be defined as effectively imparting the personal point of view or position of another individual or group of individuals. Like reasonable faith, conviction is based on the power of example and the power of the expert.
The difference is that the performer fully understands what he is doing and why he is doing it. A leader who influences by persuasion does not tell the performer what to do. He simply “sells” to the performer what needs to be done.
The leader can achieve the effect of persuasion if he uses logic or emotion. The choice depends on the predisposition of the performer. A clear example of the use of persuasion is the relationship between seller and buyer.
The leader must earn the trust of his subordinates. His argument must take into account their intellectual level. It does not have to be very complicated or very simple.
The goal set by the leader must not contradict the value system of his subordinates. He will not achieve his goal if his subordinates do not like his character and behavior. Many arguments and attempts to “sell something” have failed only because the potential buyer did not like the personality of the seller and not his product or service.
Recommendations to the leader for influence through persuasion:
Try to pinpoint the needs of your subordinates.
Start the conversation with a thought that is sure to please the subordinate.
Try to create the impression of great trust and reciprocity.
Ask a little and gradually from your subordinates. This method can work against you as a leader if you want too much in the beginning.
Conduct the conversation following the interests of subordinates, not your interests.
If several points of view emerge, make sure you speak last, because the last speaker’s arguments have the best chance of influencing the others.
Strengths and weaknesses of influence through persuasion
The weakest sides of this type of influence are the slow impact and uncertainty. It takes more time and effort to convince someone of something than to issue an order based on coercion, tradition, or personal example.
It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into convincing someone of something – it’s as if you’re never sure your subordinate will accept your influence. In addition, unlike other forms of influence, this type of influence has a one-act effect. That is why the leader, using conviction, always starts from the beginning.
The biggest advantage of using belief in the organization is that the manager does not need to check the actions and work of his subordinate. A person who works on orders and coercion usually fulfills the minimum of what is required of him. While in the case of conviction, the opposite is true. Reference: Managerspost.com
Influence through participation (involvement of staff in the management process)
Influence through participation goes further than conviction when it comes to recognizing the power and abilities of the performer. In this case, the manager does not spend any effort to impose his opinion and will on the contractor.
The manager simply directs the efforts of his subordinates and facilitates the free exchange of information. Participation in decision-making is based on meeting higher-level needs: power, competence, success, or self-realization.
Therefore, this approach should be used only in cases where such needs are active and motivating factors. The other condition for the applicability of this type of influence is that the contractor works for purposes that he has chosen.
Practical use of influence
Fear, reward, tradition, personal example, reasonable faith, belief, and participation in management are tools that the manager uses to influence the performer, appealing to his needs.
But even when the manager has all this arsenal of mechanisms of influence, he must take into account other factors. It is not enough for the leader to have some power.
This power must be strong enough to push others to work. Here are some recommendations for a manager who wants to use influence effectively:
The need to which the manager appeals must be active and strong.
The person being influenced must view the influence as a source of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) to one degree or another of some need.
The person being influenced must assume to a sufficiently high degree that the performance will lead to the satisfaction (or non-satisfaction) of his need.
The person being influenced must believe that his or her efforts will live up to the leader’s expectations.
In conclusion, we can note that each method of influence has its strength and effectiveness under certain conditions. It is necessary for each manager to know well the psyche and capabilities of his subordinates, as well as to be able to balance well between the necessary efficiency in work and acceptable compromise.