Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Role of Power

Power comes to anyone who controls the tools of coercion but authority comes only to those who are granted it by others (Palmer 2004). This statement and definition is just one of many when describing power yet is very powerful and insightful when attempting to understand transformational leadership. Coercing someone to change is a temporary means to an end. If the follower does not believe in the authority of the individual leading them the relationship is one dimensional and cannot be expected to grow beyond a transactional level. Burns (1978) tells us that all leaders are actual or potential power holders, but not all power holders are leaders. The difference is found in how it is that they approach leadership and the manner in which they utilize their power. It is important to note here that power requires both the leader and the follower for it to be manifest. It involves the intention or purpose of both power holder and power recipient; and hence is collective, not merely the behavior of one person. This point is crucial in understanding the dynamics and many layers of the relationship between leader and follower and how the motivation, needs, and desires of both factor into this dynamic relationship. Leaders of course play a very significant role in this relationship as they are ultimately tasked with deciphering the purpose of the relationship and following through with an approach that affects the greatest and deepest transformation. Leaders address themselves to followers' wants, needs, and other motivations, as well as to their own, and thus they serve as an independent force in changing the makeup of the follower’s motive base through gratifying their motives (Burns, 1978).

Burns, J. (1978.) Leadership

Palmer, P. (2004). A hidden wholeness: The journey toward an undivided Life

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