In human relations, power is characterized in varied ways. First, it is taken as the capacity, ability, potential, or capability, to take given actions in specific ways, particularly as a quality or faculty. Second, power is typified as the capacity, ability, potential, or capability, to influence, shape, or direct other person’s behaviors or the directions or courses of specified events (Richardson, 1971). Persons having high levels of power are more inclined towards taking action than their less powerful colleagues or subjects (Bacon, 2011). Besides, the former are more inclined towards offering assistance to others than the latter.
Power and Leadership
There is rather close link between power on one hand and leadership on the other. The likelihood of given persons to take an individual as their leader is largely dependent on the power he or she wields over them. Individuals are by and large inclined towards following those they deem powerful. Since others follow the individual viewed as having power, the individual leads (Richardson, 1971).
One of them most critical leadership elements is to influence the led, followers, to adhere to the leader’s instructions. Apart from a leader’s power, other aspects that shape the influence he or she exerts on the led is his or her personality and the followers’ personalities (Vecchio, 2007). In many pieces of literature on social influence, power is taken as an individual’s influence over the led (Bacon, 2011; Richardson, 1971; Vecchio, 2007).
Forms of Power
One can wield different forms of power over his or her subjects. One is said to have legitimate power if his or her followers view him or her as having the right to issue orders, or instructions, to them and are convinced that they are obligated to act in line with the orders. The power may be a creation of one’s job or position title. Some individuals have referent power, which stems from his or her followers’ conviction that he or she has attributes that they desire to attain. Naturally, the followers feel for the individuals and make efforts to emulate them.
Some individuals wield expert power over particular followers. The followers are convinced that the individuals have professional, or expert, authority, skills or knowledge relating to given tasks, jobs, or fields (Bacon, 2011). Some individuals wield reward power over particular followers. The reward-based power stems from the individuals’ ability to reward the led for handling given tasks in prescribed ways. Rewards may be in the form of promotions, holidays, pay hikes, commissions, gift items or gift vouchers.
One may wield coercive power over others. The coercion-based power stems from the individuals’ ability to punish the led for failing to handle given tasks in prescribed ways. Punishments may be in the form of penalties, privilege withdrawal, promotion opportunity drawls, job losses, or verbal abuse.
Influence and Power
Influence happens when an individuals or individuals impact on what others think or do. As noted earlier, power is typified as the capacity, ability, potential, or capability, to influence, shape, or direct other person’s behaviors or the directions or courses of specified events (Richardson, 1971). One can impact on others’ behaviors, thoughts or actions using the different forms of power.