Sabado, Disyembre 29, 2012

The Leadership Relationship by Jolito Ortizo Padilla



Whatever the perceived approach to leadership, the most important point is the nature of the leadership and the manner in which the leader influences the behavior and actions of other people.

Leadership is a dynamic form of behavior and there are a number of variables that affect the leadership relationship. Four major variables are identified by McGregor as:

  • the characteristics of the leader
  • the attitude, needs and other personal characteristics of the followers
  • the nature of the organization, such as its purpose, its structure, the tasks to be performed;and
  • the social, economic and political environment
McGregor concludes that "leadership is not a property of the individual, but a complex relationship among these variables".

According to Kouzes and Postner, credibility is the foundation of leadership. From extensive research in over 30 countries and response to the question of what people " look for and admire in a leader, in a person whose direction they would willingly follow", people have consistently replied that they want;

" leaders who exemplify four qualities: they want them to be honest , forward -looking, inspiring and competent. In our research our respondents strongly agree that they want leaders with integrity and trustworthiness, with vision and a sense of direction , with enthusiasm and passion, and with expertise and a track record for getting things done".

Fullen refers to the importance of relationship building as a basic component of the change process and effective leadership: "Leaders must consummate relationship builders with diverse people and group-especially with people different from themselves.Effective leaders constantly foster purposeful interaction and problem solving, and are wary of easy consensus".

Within an organization, leadership influence will be dependent upon their type of power that the leader can exercise over the followers. The exercise of power is a social process which helps to explain how different people can influence the behavior/actions of others. Five main sources of power upon which the influence of the leaders is based have been identified by French and Raven as reward power, coercive, legitimate power and expert power. We shall consider these in terms of the manger and subordinate relationship.

  • Reward Power is based on the subordinates perception that the leader has the ability and resources to obtain rewards for those who comply with directives, for example, pay promotion , praise, recognition , increased responsibilities , allocation and arrangement of work, granting of privilege.
  • Coercive power is based on fear and the subordinates perception that the leader has the ability to punish or to bring about undesirable duties or outcomes for those who do not comply with directives; for example, withholding pay rises, promotion or privileges; allocation of undesirable duties and responsibilities; withdrawal of friendship or support; formal reprimand or possibly dismissal. This is in effect the opposite of reward power.
  • Legitimate power is based on the subordinates perception that the leader has the right to exercise influence because of the leader's role or position in the organization. Legitimate power is based on authority , for example that of the managers and supervisors within the hierarchical structure of an organization. Legitimate power is therefore power because it is based on the role of the leader organization and not in the nature of the personal relationships with others.
  • Referent power is based on subordinates identification with the leader. The leader exercises influence because of the perceived attractiveness, personal characteristics, reputation or what is called "charisma" . For example , a particular manager may not be in a position to reward or punish certain subordinates because the manager commands their respect or esteem.
  • Expert power is based on the subordinates perception of the leader as someone who is competent and who has some special knowledge or expertise in a given area. Expert power is based on credibility and clear evidence of knowledge or expertise; for example, the expert knowledge of "functional" specialists such as the personnel manager, management accountant or systems analyst. The expert power is usually limited to narrow , well defined areas or specialisms.
Finlay suggests that in addition to the five sources of power identified by French and Raven can be added:

  • personal power, supported and trusted by their colleagues and subordinates; and
  • connection power,which results from personal and professional access to key people and information.
It is important to note that these sources of power are based on the subordinates perception of the influence of the leader, whether it is real or not. For example,if a leader has the ability to control rewards and punishments but subordinates do not believe this, then in effect the leader has no reward or coercive power. Similarly, if subordinates in a line department believe a manager, in a different staff department has executive authority over them then even if, de facto , that manager has no such authority there is still a perceived legitimate power.

French and Raven point out that the five sources of power are interrelated and the use of one type of power, for example, coercive may affect the ability to use another type of power for example. referent.Furthermore ,the same person may exercise different types of power, in particular circumstances and at different times.

" You have to look at leadership through the eyes of the followers and you have to live the message.What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization".

                                                         Jolito Ortizo Padilla

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