When talking of leadership, what comes into the mind is power and influence. Often, for one to be qualified as a leader, they must exhibit some influence and power over others to lead effectively. However, not all leaders can be said to be good leaders. There is a huge difference between leaders in terms of their source of power, influence tactics, leadership motives, and social influence. The difference in these elements is what distinguishes good and bad leaders. Depending on the source of power, influence tactics used, and leadership motives, a leader can lead to success or failure.
The source of power explains where a leader gets the power. There are various sources of power, and it can be legitimate, expert, coercive, referent, or reward (Bhasin, 2019). If the source of power is coercive, the outcomes may be adverse because a leader uses force and threats to cause an action. It is evident from a 2016 study conducted on teachers’ power on learners (Diaz et al., 2016). On the other hand, legitimate power may result in positive outcomes because a leader will strive to lead effectively to get promotion to a higher position. It, therefore, implies that the source of power can either lead to success or failure.
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Leadership is also connected to the influence tactics a leader uses. Influence tactics are a leader’s behaviors that lead to followers changing their attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors. Some influence tactics like rational persuasion, inspirational appeals are likely to result in success because a leader uses logic and motivation to influence followers. In a situation where a leader uses pressure tactics to influence followers, failure may occur. In this case, the type of influence tactic is used to determine the outcome of the followers.
To sum up, leadership can lead to either success or failure depending on the source of power and influence tactics the leader uses. Some sources of power, such as coercive, may lead to failure, while others like legitimate or expert may lead to success. Likewise, not all influence tactics are positive; some like pressure tactics, which exert pressure on followers, may lead to failure. It is, therefore, crucial for any leader pursuing success to know where to source their power and the influence tactics to use on their followers.
Bhasin, H. (2019). 5 Sources of power in an Organization or Business. Marketing91. Retrieved 4 March 2021, from https://www.marketing91.com/5-sources-power-organization/.
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Diaz, A., Cochran, K., & Karlin, N. (2016). The Influence of Teacher Power on English Language Learners’ Self-Perceptions of Learner Empowerment. College Teaching, 64(4), 158-167. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2015.1126801