Leadership and management are both important to an organization. Leadership power comes from personal sources, not from organizational structure. Leadership power promotes: vision, creativity, and change in an organization. Management power comes from organizational structure. Management power promotes: stability, order, and problem solving within an organization.
Leadership success focuses on the leader’s personal characteristics or traits. Traits are the distinguishing personal characteristics of a leader, such as intelligence, value, and appearance. However, leadership traits alone will not make him/her a true leader. A leader must focus on the dynamics of the relationship between leaders and followers. The following summarizes the physical, social, and personal leadership characteristics that have received the greatest support from subordinates.
Autocratic vs. democratic leadership
When determining leader characteristics, we should examine autocratic and democratic leadership styles.
Autocratic leader: A leader who tends to centralize authority and relies on position power (legitimate, reward, and coercive power) to manage subordinates.
Democratic leader: A leader who delegates authority to others, encourages participation, and relies on personal power (expert and referent power) to manage subordinates.
The subordinates with autocratic leadership:
- Will perform highly so long as the leader is present to supervise them.
- Will not be pleased with this style of leadership.
- Will have feelings of frequent hostility.
The subordinates with democratic leadership:
- Will perform just as highly as autocratic leaders when he/she is present.
- Will have positive feeling with this style of leadership.
- Will perform well even when the leader is absent.
Authority is often misused and misunderstood
Few things in business and industry today are more misused and misunderstood than authority. Some supervisors fail to use it when it should be used. Others try to show it when it doesn’t belong to them, and some even use it to flagrantly dominate other people.
Many people do not understand that authority carries with it obligations of respect in two ways. The individuals with authority must respect the problems and needs of their subordinates. Subordinates should respect the authority of the leaders who are responsible for providing guidance and supervision.
Authority is often overused; new supervisors and experienced ones who are assigned special projects are especially vulnerable. If you are unaccustomed to directing or coordinating the efforts of others, be careful. Don’t let your newly acquired authority affect how you handle people. When authority is overused, cooperation is hard to come by.
Power is the potential ability to influence the behavior of others. Power represents the resources with which a leader effects changes in employee behavior. Sometimes power comes from a person’s position in the organization, while other sources of power are based upon personal characteristics.
The traditional manager’s power comes from the organization. The manager’s position gives him/her the power to reward or punish subordinates in order to influence their behavior. Legitimate power, reward power, and coercive power are all forms of position power used by managers to change employee behavior.
Power comes from a formal management position in an organization and the authority granted to it is called legitimate power. When a supervisor has been selected, most workers understand that they are obligated to follow his/her direction with respect to work activities. Subordinates accept this source of power as legitimate, which is why they comply.
Reward power comes from the authority to give rewards to other people. Managers may have access to formal rewards, such as pay increases or promotion. They also have at their disposal such rewards as praise, attention, and recognition. Managers can use rewards to influence subordinates’ behavior.
Ensuring safety through good communication
Successful supervisors build teamwork
Understanding the dynamics of an organization’s culture can be useful for leadership in planning strategies for the organization.