Power, Influence & Leadership Models

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Power, Influence & Leadership Models

1. Introduction 

The American scholar has developed several lessons on leadership including leaders are made, not born, leadership is like beauty, leading means to deeply affect others, the leaders see the bigger picture, etc. (Forbes Welcome, 2017). 

According to Kakabadse (2005), and Northouse (2013), for a layman the definition of leadership always involves the notion of influence (Kent, 2005). Kent has rightly stated that various authors have produced different leadership forms like entrepreneurial leadership, strategic leadership, transcendental leadership, servant leadership, transactional leadership, etc. (Kent, 2005). But the views of scholars are different on leadership. Crainer has identified over 400 different definitions of leadership. This indicates that there are multiple ways of approaching the concept of “leadership” (Inc.com, 2017). 

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Followership has been defined as the other side of leadership by John S. McCallum (McCallum, 2013). Thus it is the flip side of the leadership concept that involves the ability to take the direction well and be a part of the team so the desired performance can be delivered. The main features of followership include judgment, work ethics, competence, honesty, courage discretion, and loyalty. Skilled followers can nurture good leaders (Forbes Welcome, 2017). 

The essay revolves around the leadership concept and how individuals apply their power and influence while using different leadership models. The terms “power” and “influence” have been critically evaluated here. The conclusions have been arrived at after evaluating how individuals apply the French and Raven’s social bases of power while undertaking leadership. 

2. Power and Influence 

In the leadership setting, power and influence have high relevance. According to “The Bases of Social Power” by John R. P. French and Bertram Raven, social influence is the change in the belief, attitude, or behavior of an individual i.e. the main target of the influence that happens due to the action of another individual i.e. the influencing agent (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). 

Social power has been defined as the potential for such an influence and the ability of the agent to bring about such a change, by using resources that are available to him or her. Thus the influencer needs to have access to some kind of resource to influence another person. It has been generally observed that people comply with the instructions when they are exposed to a significant amount of influence or power. 

In the leadership setting, both the power and the influence play a major role which ultimately affects the leadership and his leadership skills. The ability to influence others is a key determinant of a leader’s and manager’s success. Several elements affect the success of the influencing attempt of the leader. One of the factors that come into play is his power or authority.

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French and Raven’s Model of the bases of power

The model that has been introduced by French and Raven identifies the major types of powers including reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, referent power, and expert power (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). They have then assessed the change that is produced by the application of different kinds of powers. Social power and social influence are two components that have a strong correlation with one another. Similarly, leadership, power, and influence are closely related and they ultimately have an impact on the effectiveness of the leader. 

Leadership and Referent Power

The referent power mainly involves the admiration and the respect of the followers to bring about a certain change. The influence over others is based on the desire of the followers to have a connection with the leader (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). The key components involved are praise, approval, and validation. The leader targets the feelings and emotions of the followers. Example – Leadership model in a social work setting. 

Leadership and Expert Power 

This power model is mainly based on the skills, knowledge, experience, and subjective insight in a particular leadership setting. The influence over the team members or followers is based on the perception of their competence and skill level. There is minimal use of persuasion in this form of power. Example – The influencing power of an IT manager in a new IT start-up (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). 

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Leadership & Legitimate Power 

The legitimate power arises due to the existence of social norms and principles that must be complied with within a social setting. It includes following the formal or informal social hierarchy (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). In this setting, the leaders have the responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves or those who are dependent on others. Example – The power that the president of a company has because he holds the office. 

Leadership & Reward Power 

In this power setting, the focus is on the ability of others to offer or restrict the value of something. There is influence due to the desire to receive a reward which could be either financial or non-financial. Example – The power of the manager to reward his employee to reach the sales target (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). 

Leadership & Coercion Power

The coercion power involves the use of force or threat to make a change. The power model is used to influence others to do something by manipulating the rewards and the penalties in the work environment. This sort of leadership could lead to negative feelings and a poor working environment. Example – Threat of pay cuts or demotion (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). 

Leadership & Informational Power

French and Raven introduced another power,e sixth power known as informational power. This power can influence changes through the information. This helps others to gain knowledge. Some examples of this power are personal information for govt., Phone conversations, National security data, etc.

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3. Leadership Models 

The leadership models that have been highlighted are the skills model of leadership and the team leadership model.  These leadership models have been used so that the ideas, beliefs, and experiences of an effective leader can be highlighted in the process (Learn-to-be-a-leader.com, 2017). 

Skills model of leadership – Leadership skills can be defined as the ability to use one’s knowledge and competencies to accomplish a specific set of goals and objectives. This model of leadership has high relevance in the current organizational setting because it examines the relationship between a leader’s knowledge and skills and his ultimate performance. The primary focus is on the leadership skills and capabilities that are possessed by him. 

This leadership model has identified three skills – technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. According to Katz, a leader needs all of these three skills to be effective in his role (Katz, 2017). The technical skills could include knowledge, specialized competency, or the capability to use specialized tools and techniques in specific situations. Human skills are fundamentally the ones that help people to work with others. It helps individuals to form relationships with others so that mutual trust can be created in a relationship. 

Conceptual skills refer to the ability to work with new ideas and concepts. Such skills help the leaders to comprehend and decide the actions that must be taken in the organizational setting (Katz, 2017). All the levels of management including the top management, middle management, and supervisory management need these skills so that they can strengthen their leadership model. 

 The leaders need to use this approach to identify the specific areas that need to be developed by the personnel. After the identification of the required skills, necessary actions can be taken to strengthen their technical ability, human ability, and conceptual ability. Example – The technical skills of the employees can be strengthened by conducting training sessions so that they can use certain computer software packages such as Microsoft Excel or Access.

Team leadership model – The team leadership model is a unique leadership model which fundamentally focuses on the leaders; this leadership focuses on excellent teams to gain insight into the elements that help them to function productively. Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson have conducted studies to identify the major elements that help teams to work best in the organizational setting (LaFasto & Larson, 2001). 

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The five major areas that have been identified by them in a successful team include the team members, team relations, team problem-solving ability, the team leader, and the organizational environment. This leadership theory is different as compared to other leadership models since it primarily focuses on the teams instead of just focusing on the leaders. They have highlighted the significance of leaders using their discretion in the various situations that would require their intervention. This leadership framework has been highlighted in Appendix 1 (LaFasto & Larson, 2001). 

It shows that the leaders’ decision-making model influences the tasks, relational and environmental setting of an undertaking which ultimately affects the team’s effectiveness and the team performance. To make this leadership theory work in the organizational setting, the first thing that the leader must do is to decide to determine how an intervention model can be introduced to improve the team functioning (LaFasto & Larson, 2001). Then the team relationships must be observed so that the desired objective can be accomplished

The ultimate decision that must be taken relates to whether the intervention must be made at an internal level or an external level. Example – In almost small organizations, this form of leadership is followed so that the decisions can positively affect the team outcome. 

4. Evaluation of the use of power and influence when using the leadership models 

Skills model of leadership 

 In the skill model of leadership, the role of the leader or the agent is powerful because of the high degree of skills and expertise that he possesses. Due to the high level of specialized knowledge, the followers or the subordinates automatically tend to listen to such leaders and this approach of the followers increases the power of the influencer. The main characteristics and the propensities of the people who are influenced are their limited knowledge and expertise as compared to the leader, their willingness to strengthen their capabilities and skills, etc. 

All these factors play a key role which further motivates them to follow the path that is laid down by the skilled leader. The length of the leader-follower relationship could vary depending on the specific requirements of the organization. If the leader and the followers work on a particular project then it could span for several months, whereas if they operate in a normal organizational setting as the reporting manager and the subordinate, their leader-follower relationship could last longer (Oc & Bashshur, 2013). 

The general perception of the third parties who might observe the leader-follower relationship would be favorable. They would think highly of the professional relationship because the follower would be positively influenced by the skilled leader who would be guiding him (Brown & Treviño, 2014). Such exposure would allow the follower to learn the core leadership skills including technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. There is a possibility that a few negative people could be jealous of the leader-follower relationship and they could try to disrupt the professional working environment.

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The leadership skill model is apt for almost all organizations because the skills and expertise are the core elements that drive the firm towards success. At the top management level, the members must possess relevant skills and expertise to make key business decisions. Similarly, at the middle management level, the managers must keep on upgrading their skills and knowledge so that they can positively influence their subordinates. 

The supervisory team must also possess relevant skills and knowledge so that they can make a valuable contribution to the organizational setting (Power and Influence, 2017). Thus this leadership model is applicable in all the organizations that mainly have large-scale operations. In such an organizational setting, the positive and favorable use of power and influencing authority by the leaders can make positive changes in the organizational setting (Bush & Glover, 2014). 

The person or subordinates that are influenced by the agent or leader have a positive feeling about the person who is attempting to influence them only if they have the willingness to upgrade their skills and knowledge. But there are times in the organizational scenario when the subordinates try to waste their time in the professional setting instead of upgrading their skills and competency level. So the thinking and feeling of the superiors would mainly depend on the level of influencing power and authoritative power of the leaders (Power and Influence, 2017). 

In the skill model of leadership, the followers play a major role since they make sure that the leadership model of the manager is effective. The right use of influencing power can help the target audience i.e. the subordinates to rise in the particular organizational hierarchy. Similarly, the better strengthening of the skills of the leader can help him to move further up the organizational ladder that can be a positive change in his career graph. Thus the model that has been introduced by French and Raven on the bases of power highlights the application and the significance of social power and social influence in a leadership setting in an organization (Power and Influence, 2017). 

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Team leadership model 

The team leadership model is another leadership approach that highlights the significance of the effective decision made by the leader since it affects the ultimate performance of the team. In such a leadership scenario, the role of power and influence is significant to motivate the team members to drive toward the organizational objective. In this leadership setting the leader has significant influencing power in the team since he works with all the team members to reach the business objective. He uses his leadership expertise to effectively function in the team setting (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). 

The major characteristics of the influenced parties i.e. the team members’ strong commitment, experience, problem-solving ability, openness, action-orientation, supportiveness, and personal style. A positive leader can use his influencing power not in an authoritative manner but as a team leader who can effectively guide all the team members toward a common objective. The role of the team members is significant in the process. Since this leadership model focuses on the leader as a normal team member, he needs to carefully use his power to strengthen the team and its members. 

The length of the leader-follower relationship exists as long as the team exists to reach the desired target (French, Raven & Cartwright, 1959). Generally, in this form of leadership, the relationship continues for a long period because the leader and the other team members are observed as a single team and their relationship is not defined as that of “the leader and the followers”. 

The perception of other people who might observe the leader-follower relationship or the team leadership is favorable. Since the team effectively reaches its goals and objectives, the leader along with his support team is appreciated. There is a limited influence of authoritativeness in this leadership scenario because all the members work in a team. Hence the leader plays the role of a team member who works along with the other team members to reach the organizational outcome. Such a leadership model is generally observed in organizations that operate on a small scale. Due to the small operational intensity of the organizations, the members can form a single team to reach the common organizational objective (Mendenhall et al., 2017). 

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The Organizational context has had major relevance in this leadership setting since. The lower the number of employees or the team members, the more positive influence the leader must have on them to reach the business target. The persons i.e. the team members who get influenced by the leadership style of the leader positively think and feel about him if he adopts an influencing and positive team management style. Effective rapport and coordination among all the team members including the leader are crucial in the organizational setting. 

The improper use of power or a highly authoritative approach can hurt the team and the entire performance (Katz, 2017). This power can be termed “coercion power” which can lead to higher managerial problems. In the team leadership model, the leader must not abuse his authoritative power otherwise it could adversely affect the team dynamics and the ultimate team performance and team development. A positive leadership model will help to create a positive influence on the target team members which would finally reflect in the team results. Such application of power and influence would help the target to have a positive perception of the change agent or the leader. 

This power and influence model in the team leadership setting would have a positive impact on the entire team including the target participants as well as the change agent. Since all the members including the leader and the followers operate in a single team setting, the positive use of power and influence would positively impact the team results, performance, and decisions and this would help the targets or the agent to move their position forward within a particular organizational hierarchy. Thus this leadership model along with the proper application of power and authority would help the entire team to move forward on the corporate ladder (Katz, 2017). 

Thus the model that has been introduced by French and Raven relating to power has significant relevance in any leadership setting since all the leaders need to utilize their power and influence in the most productive way to generate a positive outcome in the organizational setting. The various kinds of powers that have been identified by them must be carefully and effectively used by the managers and the leaders so that the most feasible and effective outcome can be generated (Northouse, 2015). 

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5. Conclusion 

Leadership is a crucial concept that has high relevance in the organizational setting. The various concepts and models relating to the subject have been highlighted here. The models have been critically evaluated to understand how an individual might make utilize his power and influence in both the leadership models. 

Several pieces of evidence have been used to understand the subject of leadership because it is a fluid subject matter whose definition keeps on evolving. The skills model of leadership and the team leadership model have been highlighted in the essay and the evaluation relating to the use of power and influence while using these models has been highlighted so that the power and influence can be effectively used in such leadership setting.

References

Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know?. School Leadership & Management, 34(5), 553-571.

Brown, M. E., & Treviño, L. K. (2014). Do role models matter? An investigation of role modeling as an antecedent of perceived ethical leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 122(4), 587-598.

Forbes Welcome. (2017). Forbes.com. Retrieved 15 December 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/04/09/what-is-leadership/2/#4145fe5941f0

Forbes Welcome. (2017). Forbes.com. Retrieved 15 December 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2016/01/17/why-followership-is-now-more-important-than-leadership/#980962b5d640

French, J. R., Raven, B., & Cartwright, D. (1959). The bases of social power. Classics of organization theory, 7.

Inc.com. (2017). Lessons from Leadership Guru Warren Bennis. Retrieved 15 December 2017, from https://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/7-leadership-lessons-from-late-warren-bennis.html

Kent, T. W. (2005). Leading and managing: it takes two to tango. Management Decision, 43(7/8), 1010-1017.

Katz, R. (2017). Skills Approach: Robert Katz. Thu. ee. Retrieved 15 December 2017, from http://www.tlu.ee/~sirvir/IKM/Leadership%20Models/skills_approach_robert_katz.html

LaFasto, F., & Larson, C. (2001). When teams work best: 6,000 team members and leaders tell what it takes to succeed. Sage.

Learn-to-be-a-leader.com.(2017). Leadership theories, leadership models, and leadership principles. Retrieved 15 December 2017, from http://www.learn-to-be-a-leader.com/leadership-theories.html

McCallum, J. S. (2013). Followership: The other side of leadership. Ivey Business Journal Online.

Mendenhall, M. E., Osland, J., Bird, A., Oddou, G. R., Stevens, M. J., Maznevski, M. L., & Stahl, G. K. (Eds.). (2017). Global leadership: Research, practice, and development. Routledge.

Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

Oc, B., & Bashshur, M. R. (2013). Followership, leadership, and social influence. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(6), 919-934.

Power and Influence. (2017). Leadership-development-tips.com. Retrieved 15 December 2017, from http://www.leadership-development-tips.com/power-and-influence.html

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