Power and Leadership

Select any one of the following starter bullet point sections. Review the important themes within the sub questions of each bullet point. The sub questions are designed to get you thinking about some of the important issues. Your response should provide a succinct synthesis of the key themes in a way that articulates a clear point, position, or conclusion supported by research. Select a different bullet point section than what your classmates have already posted so that we can engage several discussions on relevant topics. If all of the bullet points have been addressed, then you may begin to re-use the bullet points with the expectation that varied responses continue.

Power is an important tool. Getting the power equation right is tricky; it is the toughest with a leader’s immediate team. Leaders have difficulty exercising power within their team due to the close interpersonal dynamics and face-to-face encounters with other emotional human beings. From your experience with or observation of leaders, identify a leader who demonstrated effective use of power within the team. Why do you believe the leader demonstrated effective use of power? Identify a leader who did not demonstrate effective use of power within the team. Why do you believe the leader did not demonstrate effective use of power? Analyze the characteristics of each leader’s behavior. What were the behaviors that were effective or ineffective? Make sure to analyze how developmentally minded the leader appeared to be as he or she interacted with and led the team. What leadership lessons can you learn?
It is important for a leader to use power clearly and appropriately to gather cooperation for and commitment to any decision, building cohesiveness within the team. There are three fundamental sources of power: coercive, utilitarian, and normative. Coercive power uses punishment to force cooperation and commitment. Utilitarian power uses incentives. Normative power uses value alignment. Which source of power is most frequently utilized in your organization? How would you rank the three sources of power in terms of their frequency of use within your organization? Which source of power is most appealing to you from the perspectives of both a leader and a follower? What leadership lessons can you learn?
Teamwork requires trust among team members so that (a) all members can depend on each other, (b) all members contribute their share of the work, (c) the team distributes resources fairly, and (d) the team includes and informs everyone through open and honest communication. High-performing teams consciously establish and maintain an environment of trust. Trust becomes a felt presence, an accepted norm, and a foundation for all that the team does. Think about all the teams you have been in. Select the team that was characterized by an environment of trust. Describe the team and what it did. How was the environment of trust established? How did you know an environment of trust was present? What did you see, hear, and experience? What were the benefits of the environment of trust for the team members, their work, and the organization? What did you learn from this team that might help your current or future teams build a stronger environment of trust?
Among the most important skills of good coaches are listening and the use of powerful questions. Think about the best leaders that you have experienced. Were they good coaches? Describe their listening and interaction skills. How did they use questions? How did their listening and questioning activities make you feel? How did they affect your performance? Your development? Conversely, how have some of the worst leaders that you experienced used listening and questioning? How would you rate them as a coach-leader? How did their practices impact you and your performance? How might we evaluate coaching as an effective or ineffective approach to leadership?

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Zenger, J. H., & Stinnett, K. (2010).The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. ISBN: 9780071703406

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