Power in the workplace
Prime the pump
October 19, 2021
Power in the workplace

Once a manager reached out to me asking my advice on how he might improve the morale/engagement within his team. I advised him that the two most important relationships he could have at work were with his boss and his direct reports because those people have the power to make or break his career. I suggested ways he could improve the relationship between him and his team. However, his response was “I ain’t making no tail wag me.” He couldn’t understand why he, being a manager should humble himself and change his leadership approach so that his direct reports could feel valued, appreciated, respected and inclusive.

As I contemplated today’s focus – Power in the workplace. I revisited my favourite literature book – Animal Farm. “The book tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebelled against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals could be equal, free, and happy. Ultimately, the rebellion is betrayed, and the farm ends up in a state as bad as it was before, under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon.” Regardless of your position at work, you wield some level of power – Your power is either accepted or given and could be used positively or negatively.

First, we will seek to understand where power comes from in the workplace. Then, we’ll explore why leaders behave the way they do and how effective you are under their power. Finally, we explore how leaders could build new power bases to get the best from their team.
Social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven in their 1958/1959 article, ‘The Bases of Social Power’ identified five types of leadership power. They grouped them under the headings Positional – three power sources and Personal – two power sources.

Here’s how they described Positional Power:

Coercive Power: with this power source, leaders use threats of penalty and reprimand to force persons to comply with their instructions. This source of power can be abused and can cause disengagement and low morale among the people it’s applied to.

Reward Power: this source is based on the idea that leaders can influence compliance with the promise of valuable rewards. For example, promotions, special assignments, raises. The source of this power weakens when the perceived reward value is small.

Legitimate Power: this source is based on the position leaders hold. Persons acknowledge that because of leaders’ position, they are within their authority to make certain requests. Prime Ministers, CEOs, Presidents, Pastors, provide legitimate power. This type of power could be unstable. People could be influenced by the position and not the person. Therefore, if you lose the title, you lose the influence.

Next week we’ll look at Personal Power Source and more.

Visit us at www.searchlight.vc or https://www.facebook.com/Searchlight1.We’ll help you get noticed.