Power and Leadership
Power and Leadership
This week’s readings were particularly fascinating because they made me realize I do not know much about power. Like many people, I have several misconceptions about the notion. When I think of power, I typically think of someone with authority – someone who makes decisions without having to consult anyone. Rarely do I think of power in the form of influence. I also realize that many leaders today do not know they have power, and even those in positions of influence often shy away from using their power. This misunderstanding of power is perhaps influenced by politics whereby many political leaders have abused their power. However, despite such abuse, power can be used for good, and people do not have to shy away from acknowledging their positions of such power.
There is a misconception that managers are always aware of what to do. However, many of them fail to empower themselves even as they acknowledge the importance of enabling their employees. They have to create a sense of worth and recognize that they have to deal with politics within the organization. This strategy will equip them with the skills they need to deal with such dynamics. I think that this raises an important issue– there is a need for managers to understand that not every employee would be satisfied with the way they lead. Some subordinates will have self-interests that may collide with the manager’s vision. If the manager does not have the dexterity to deal with these conflicts, or if he does not know how to use his powers effectively, then it will be hard for him to manage his specific department well.
I think that learning about politics within organizations opens one up to many strategies. For instance, in change management, many leaders often have to deal with arising conflict and resistance to change. Failing to deal with such opposition is an indication that they do not understand the power they have. If the leaders communicate their vision to those under them but continue to experience opposition, it would be time to let go of those resisting the change. Understanding power and politics within the organization should be included as one of the lessons in change management
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