Leader – do you use or abuse power?

The term defines the power of "control and influence over others" . With positions of management and leadership, power comes and it seems to be more convenient for some than others. It is increasingly recognized that organizations need good leaders if they are performing successfully. Their people will feel motivated, have the power and will contribute. Leaders who do not use their power positively and abuse will act in a way that will be forced and in the extreme could be bullying. This situation is one that seems to be increasing and creates further problems at work, such as stress. This article will look at what is "power" and how to use it in production. We want to consider how leaders can become more secure in their position and their power and explore the benefits of all parties when they do.

Power tends to be wasted and absolute power is totally wasted.
Lord Acton

There are two elements of power in an organizational context – "standing power" and "personal power". The leader has "status" given by the agency. This comes from the authority that the job needs to do things or make things happen. "Private Power" is about how much an individual's influence is and is given by followers. The two are largely linked. People will look at the leadership "status" and give them a great "personal power" based on how they perceive that the leader could affect them. Even when organizations are looking to introduce someone, those who are conscious will look to see how well individuals may seem to affect others around them – and give them "status".

Problems arise when people are placed in rods where they have significant "power" but feel out of depth and uncertainty. What begins to happen is that they feel the need to overcome their discomfort and they start doing this by abusing the power they hold. I have heard and seen many examples of bad or inappropriate behavior from various levels of management and leadership over my years. This is the training that many of these people have taken part in! I wonder how many times you had been at the reception as such behavior? More points to how many of you have been guilty of using them? Sometimes this abuse of power is obvious:

  • shouting, even screaming at staff,
  • threats used;
  • unrealistic requirements;
  • scare body language
  • be temporary staff;
  • putting unrealistic amounts of expectations, etc.

The list can be overridden – and could increase to include some obvious behaviors. Why are so many previously fair people able to start getting so unrealistic? Experience suggests that one factor is that they are often just bearing a policy from their bosses! If it's not a good model, it's hard to behave correctly. However, this is something apologetic. What is actually achieved by abuse of power? Daily reports of problematic bullying in the workplace, increased stress at the workplace, are clear indications that this is happening.

Consequences for organization and leaders can be significant. There are probably problems with productivity and efficiency, absenteeism (or just racism!), And possibly staff retention is also a problem? If this happens, the possibility of the cruel spiral operator is undergoing more pressure and this continues with the improper use of their "power power".

The flip side is to consider what can happen when a leader is able to use his power constructively. Why can they do this? Part of it is because they are happy with "personal power" and adapt to additional "status". Perhaps they have the right model or talent. They acknowledge that they can get more from their people by supporting and encouraging rather than forcing!

Power is not damaged. Fear spoils … maybe fear of damage in power.
John Steinbeck

For me, this is a quote about two types of leaders – violence often results in their depth in their role. They fear losing their status and likely loss of face, position and money. They do not think they can ask for help or support to improve how they work. They may think that signs of weaknesses are considered and they aim to add what they consider is a view of strength.

Leaders have the right to ask about their followers. There are many different ways they can handle this and there is no one right way. Sometimes the leader may need to be more direct and public – with others, more inclusive and supportive. Whatever the situation, the leader continues from "rankings" – and the good, is still aware of his own "personal power".

When you are in a leadership position, check and think how you are with the leader. You will get much more "personal power" by treating people with respect – and earn it instead. Accepting it with your status comes under warranty. Regardless of how your administrators can treat you or universities treat your people, it's not an excuse for abuse of your authority. Remember that the most effective way to get involved with people and get them to work with and for you is to treat them as they want treatment! Pay attention to your behavior and check if you are inclined to make unrealistic requirements or return to power to get it done. How hard is thinking about another person first and then ask for what you want appropriately?

As a leader you have the choice whether you abuse or use the power you are given. Many people who abuse their power do not always realize that they are doing it or why. The reason is usually that they are struggling with their role. If you find yourself running towards this, do something about it! Think about what makes you feel like this and identify which areas you want to improve or develop. Now go and find out how to get the support or training you want and go and ask for it. Learn to be content with your power, both "status" and "personal" and you'll be pleasantly surprised what you can achieve as a leader!


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