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Research Essay

6124 words - 25 pages

A CCL Research White Paper

The Role of Power in Effective Leadership
By: Vidula Bal Michael Campbell Judith Steed Kyle Meddings


The Role of Power in Effective Leadership

CONTENTS Executive Summary Background Power and Leadership Sources of Power The Power of Relationships The Power of Information Understanding the Organization’s Role How Leaders Leverage Power Effectively Reflection Questions Resources References About the Authors 4 5 6 8 12 14 15 17 19 19 19 20

Center for Creative Leadership, CCL®, and its logo are registered trademarks owned by the Center for Creative Leadership. © 2008 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights ...view middle of the document...

4. 41 percent of the leaders surveyed indicate that they would feel more powerful at work if they had more formal authority. 5. The top three most frequently leveraged sources of power are: the power of expertise, the power of information and the power of relationships. The power of punishment, or the ability to sanction individuals for failure to conform to standards or expectations, is the least-leveraged source of power. 6. The three sources of power leaders believe will be most important to leverage in the next five years are the power of relationships, the power of information, and the power to reward others. 7. The power of relationships is most often used to promote one’s own personal agenda. 8. Leaders suggest that the power of relationships can be better leveraged by identifying desired relationships, investing in those relationships, and repairing damaged relationships.

Center for Creative Leadership, CCL®, and its logo are registered trademarks owned by the Center for Creative Leadership. © 2008 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.

The Role of Power in Effective Leadership

The concepts of power and leadership have been and will continue to be interconnected. While an individual may exert power without being a leader, an individual cannot be a leader without having power. For this study, the I2A team defined power simply as ‘the potential to influence others.’ This definition helps demystify power and puts into perspective the importance of using power in order to be an effective leader. In organizational settings, leaders must exert power to achieve individual, team, and organizational goals. Leaders must be able to influence their followers to achieve greater performance; their superiors and peers to make important decisions; and stakeholders to ensure the vitality of the organization.

During a five-month period of 2007, data were collected from participants attending a CCL program via two complementary research methods. The first asked participants to complete a short survey on computer kiosks during their weeklong participation in a CCL program. These data were returned to them by the end of their program week. The second method was an Internet survey that participants volunteered to take part in approximately two weeks following their CCL experience. This survey was more indepth and allowed the I2A research team to better understand the high-level trends that emerged from the in-class survey.

W H O P A R T I C I P AT E D I N T H E R E S E A R C H ?
In-Class Survey The initial survey on leadership power focused on high-level trends and was completed by 260 participants attending a leadership development program at CCL’s Colorado Springs, CO USA campus. The typical participant was a male (73 percent), between the ages of 36 and 50 years old (68 percent), representing upper-middle management or the executive level (64 percent). Post-Program Survey...

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