An individual manager may have power derived from any or all of the five bases of power and the manager may use that power in different1 ways. Therefore, good managers must try to analyse the sources of their power and be careful how they use that power.
The work of Gary Yukl provides both a way to predict the consequences of certain uses of power and guidelines for using power. The following table list^ the five sources of ;i leader’s power and some of the variables that are likely to lead to three general types of employee responses or outcomes-commitment, compliance and resistance-when the leader uses the power. For instance, the table shows that a leader’s use of referent power will lead employees to be committed lo the leader’s project if they see that the project is important to the leader. However a leader who relics on coercive power is very unlikely to have committed employees.
Using Legitimate Power
The use of legitimate power is seldom challenged in an organization; when a superior asks a sub-ordinate to do something, the sub-ordinate usually complies without resistance. However, the way the superior makes the request and follows it up are very important for ensuring the sub-ordinate’s future compliance and the growth of the superior’s referent power. Though the secretary does what the boss asks, still the boss could be cordial and polite when making requests and should whenever possible explain why a particular task needs to be done. The secretary who understands the importance of a task will be more likely to work enthusiastically on it.
The boss must follow normal procedures and make sure the request is appropriate. For instance, a vice-president whose secretary is busy should not assume that he or she can just ask a supervisor’s secretary to drop all other work and type a letter. Such by passing of the normal chain of command can cause hard feelings among all the people involved.
Most of these suggestions imply that managers must be sensitive to employees concerns. Managers who are insensitive to their employees may find that their legitimate power dwindles and that they must resort to coercive power.
Using Reward Power
The manager, before giving a reward, must be sure that the employee has actually done the job and done it well. Employees must know that they get rewarded for good work.
Using Coercive Power
For some people, using coercive power is a natural response when something goes wrong. But often employees resist coercive power, resent it and losing respect for people using that type, of power. Hence, coercion is now generally recognized to be the most difficult form of punishment to use successfully in an organization.
Managers who wish to maintain their credibility should make threats only when they intend to carry through on them and should never threaten a punishment that they cannot bring about. A good manager will be such that the punishment fit the crime. For instance, warning an individual who uses copying machine to make -personal copies but firing someone who steals equipment from the organization. Public punishment makes everyone uneasy and humiliating and hence should be done private.
Using Expert Power
To gain power from their expertise, managers must make people aware of how much they know. Manager can use his expert power most effectively to address employee concerns. If a particular sales person faces any difficulty in selling a particular product and turns to manager for his help, the manager must be able to identify the defect and must be able to help and educate him.
Using Referent Power
Leaders have traditionally strengthened their referent power by hiring employees with backgrounds similar to their own. One of the most positive and subtle uses of referent power is the process of rote modeling. A respected manager who wants her employees to be punctual, considerate and creative can simply demonstrate those behaviors herself and her employees will likely imitate her actions.
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