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Leadership Challenge Using Sources of Power Ethically

Introduction Leadership refers to a social influence process critical for attaining both societal and organizational objectives. Haslam, Reicher and Platow (2011) defined leadership as a process where leaders and subordinates interact and attempt to influence the subordinates’ behavior to meet organizational objectives. Cable and Judge (2003) point out at extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience as components of the five factor model of personality influencing leadership styles. But Northouse (2010) also argues that other than this trait leadership theory where leaders were defined by their character traits earned by birth, they could also be made and thus process leadership. No matter the style, leadership occurs within an organization’s power and authority with Liu and Fang (2006) observing that the concept relates to power structuring with the leader having the ability to lead and motivate based on power disposition. The concept of social power involves interpersonal force and resistance based on five power sources: reward, coercive, legitimate, referent and expert powers. According to Jones and George (2008), reward power refers to the ability of the agent to provide the target with the so desired outcomes like job promotion and pay increase. Here, the leader needs the support of the subordinate and will seek such a subordinate’s assistance modify the proposal to achieve the objectives. Ingratiation plays an important role here as the leader would get the subordinate to be in a good mood before asking such a person to perform certain tasks. The CEO would therefore have to apply agreeableness as a leadership trait as the subordinate has to accept the reward for the task to be accomplished. This power source would be used by the CEO in solving administrative issues. Additional roles and responsibilities being granted to workers would probably require a reward to encourage them to take up such roles. The employee could be rewarded after the task to encourage continuity or before to encourage uptake. This approach exhibits consideration as argued by the behavioral model of leadership where leaders show care and respect for the subordinates (Northouse, 2010). Coercive power could be considered as the opposite of reward power as it involves the ability of effecting negative consequences like transfers and demotions. Operational issues would cause the leader in the organization to apply force in ensuring that the organization runs as is supposed to. The employees would therefore look forward to making things work in the organization so as to meet the demands of the CEO. The leader uses pressure by giving demands, persistent reminders or threats. This approach would mostly be employed by task oriented or extravert leadership where the Fielder’s model argues that the major concern of the leader would be on getting the job done at the highest level possible (Northouse, 2010). In case this fails, then the leader would influence action through coalition where the leader would get someone to persuade the subordinate to act. The legitimate power would cause the CEO to ask the subordinates to perform the required tasks because of the authority that such a leader possess to ask the subordinate to accomplish such tasks. The Fielder’s model describes this as position power that comes with the

Leadership Challenge Using Sources of Power Ethically