A good leader shows confidence by believing in the company. The purpose of the company, the mission statement, the vision, and every single policy and process that supports the company is held in high regard by a good leader. The leader knows that no matter what, following the guidelines established by the company will lead to good things. And the manager NEVER stops believing this. When things are going wrong and obstacles appear, weak-minded leaders will fold like a cupcake. True leaders will stay strong and remain loyal to their beliefs during the mess until the storm passes. Employees notice the boss’s loyalty to the company during these times and admire what the manager is doing for the company.
Sometimes good leadership is a lonely path. When things are going wrong, most team members will avoid the pain because it hurts and the solution to the adversity requires additional and unfamiliar thought. When the team members run, they still need a solution to the adversity or pain or the adversity will quickly go south. When the team is looking for the pain to stop, they will only look at the leader and judge his or her ability to handle the adversity. It’s a lonely situation when adversity hits, the team runs, and only the leader will be judged as the example to the solution who will also be the only one defending company protocol.
A leader who believes is an intricate part of the organizations culture. Organizational culture is the environment, who it is, why things are done, its personality if you will. Observing a “believing” manager makes a strong statement about who the organization is because the team will witness adversity battles head-on and support and sometimes mimic the behavior. The leader will earn referent authority points when the team observe his or her acts for the company and will likely follow more direction from the leader. Now a team exists who battles adversity head-on and the leader will have greater influence over the work behaviors that will define who the company is and why things get done.
Leadership is known by many names – directorship, control, governorship, stewardship, hegemony, authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness, sway, and clout. Regardless of the many names, leadership is simply one person or persons influencing another person or persons. But why, why and how does a person influence another? What’s that magic trick? Upon two people coming together for dialogue, why does one of the people want to do what the other person says? The answer is within the power used by the leader. Leaders use Position Power, Reward Power, Coercive Power , Expert Power, and Referent Power to influence others to perform.
Position Power is one way a manager influences subordinates to perform. Position Power is when a manager has authority and influence over employees because of the title alone. The title allows the manager the freedom to reward or punish subordinates with no penalties from the company. The phrase “do it because I’m your boss” is an example of Position Power. Employees know full-well that if they don’t do what the boss says, discipline and penalties will follow.
Reward Power is another way managers can influence others. Reward Power is when a manager gets compliance from others by rewarding them for the behavior. Managers, can reward others with tangible thing like money and promotions. A tangible example would be a manager saying to a subordinate,”if you achieve such-and-such result, I will promote you to the next level”. The subordinate wants the promotion so they work hard achieving the result. Hence, the manager has effectively influenced the behavior with a tangible reward. An intangible example would be a manager telling an employee “I really like how well you handle three different responsibilities simultaneously”. The employee likes how they feel when the hard work is appreciated by the boss and continues to achieve the result. Hence, the manager has effectively influenced the employee to continue performing well with an intangible reward.
Coercive Power is another way a manager can influence employees. Coercive Power is similar to Reward Power but with penalties instead of rewards. With Coercive Power, a manager removes or punishes an employee if a performance standard isn’t met. An example would be a manager telling an underperforming employee that if they didn’t improve performance, they could lose their job. The employee wants and needs the job, therefor they start performing according to standard. In this way, a manager is using Coercive Power to influence performance.
Another way to influence others is by using Expert Power. Expert Power is the ability to get someone to do what you want because they think you’re an expert on the subject. Employees believe a manager has high level of knowledge or a specialized set of skills that other employees or members of the organization do not possess. Because employees believe this, they will follow direction given by the manager. After all, the manager knows what they’re talking about because they’re an expert, right? Another example of Expert Power is when we talk to an I.T. person or tech person. On a phone call with a tech person, we don’t know what they look like and have never dealt with this individual before. In our minds however, we believe in their expertise to fix our issue and will happily follow their direction over the phone. Hence, the tech person is influencing our behavior with Expert Power.
Finally, there’s Referent Power. Referent Power is less black-and-white than the other leadership powers because it’s earned with respect and respect can be earned in many ways. “We can gain Referent Power when others trust what we do and respect us for how we handle situations” (http://www.quickbase.com/blog/the-5-types-of-power-in-leadership). The trust and respect happens when employees see how a manager handles difficult situations. They may watch the manager suffer through a difficult moment and emerge as positive and encouraging as ever. Trust and respect happens when employees watch what a manager does for the company. They might see the manager delivering above-standard results. The employees could also see how the manager defends the company in difficult times. Trust and respect also happens when employees see what a manager does for people. Employees could witness a manager helping a struggling employee or developing an employee to a higher position. Once the staff understands what the manager is about in an admirable way, the manager can greatly influence the employees work.
Leaders use Position Power, Reward power, Coercive power, Expert power, and Referent power to influence others to perform. Position Power uses authority to influence. Reward and Coercive Power uses consequences to influence. Expert Power uses skills to influence. Referent Power uses trust and respect to influence. Each is effective in its own way and each should be delivered by a manager in mixed doses except for Referent Power. The hardest to earn and most effective, Referent Power is permanent!
When a company fails to deliver the brand, it’s often times not the fault of the employees! That’s right, the employees who screwed up your experience are not to blame…..most times.
It’s like an automobile. The automobile represents the “brand”. Like an automobile with many moving parts, the “brand” also has many moving parts.
The tires represent the service department. They go where they are pointed. Tires used for long stretches develop nicks and dings and could have a blow-out, just like service employees. New tires or well-maintained tires look good and hug the road. The tires perform better, just like service employees.
The engine represents the production team. How the engine goes determines how fast the “tires” go. Maybe the engine parts are old, worn, or poorly maintained, like some employees, spinning the “tires” slowly. The engine could also have unauthorized parts causing it to slow down, like some employees who are unqualified to perform the role.
The steering wheel/driver of the automobile makes the automobile travel in certain directions, like the coordinator of the brand who determines the timing between production and service. Sometimes the steering wheel/driver takes the automobile off-road, launching it airborne, landing, and jarring all the moving parts loose when it lands. This happens in the “brand” as well, causing stress and duress in the team.
We deal with two kinds of people. One kind is the person/employee that asks what you, others, or the company is doing for them. The other kind of person/employee thinks about what they can do for others.
Imagine operating a shift for an organization and your employees consume themselves with what the company or others are doing for them? They are not thinking about how to make the business better. They are thinking about how and when they are going to get treated compared to the employee next to them. To them unfairness takes the form of amount of work, amount of hours, or how a manager speak to them. In this environment the culture becomes toxic.
An organization full of selfish employees will not think about the work that needs to happen, they’re thinking about their feelings. So less work happens, conflicts start, and the organization is unable to deliver the brand while the managers tries to manage the issues.
In the other, scenario you may have a group of employees who view life and work with the attitude of “what can I do for you”. In this environment you see employees helping each other. You see employees having fun and having healthy dialogue and camaraderie while the work is getting done. This environment fosters and nurtures morel work. Another benefit of having an environment like this is that employees like it so much, they want to develop their careers with this organization. This lowers turnover, lowers costs, and increases tenure – productivity.
How can a manager prevent one toxic environment and enable one healthy environment? The answer is sometimes leadership but the real answer is better planning and organizing. It means better hiring skills and the ability to read the nature of an individual during an interview. Hire team players and givers and you will get a healthy productive environment. Hire emotional selfish needy people and you will get a toxic environment.
Remember that the next time you are sitting across from an employee candidate!