Influence Processes a Leadership Analysis Essay

William Scott Influence Processes: A Leadership Analysis Leadership & Ethics for Managers June 1, 2008 Abstract A leader’s ability to influence and motivate followers is a crucial skill that effective leaders must possess. This is why organizations allow leaders to control many of the operational functions of the organization. By controlling several key operational components, the leader is able to direct and institute change throughout the organization. The purpose of this paper is to analyze leader influence models and present the practical implications of their use.

Influence Processes: A Leadership Analysis Introduction In order to be an effective leader, a leader must be able to influence followers to comply and prescribe to their organizational vision. Leaders are able to influence an organization by directing decisions, controlling resources, providing rewards, approving promotions, and modeling expected behaviors (Nahavandi, 2006). By controlling these influence processes, leaders are able to effect organizational change and create the heart and soul of the organization. Direct Decisions:

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When a leader has control of decisions they can mold and shape the vision, mission, culture, and strategy of the organization (Nahavandi, 2006). Since the leader is responsible for the overall health of an organization, leaders are empowered with these tools to maintain or effect organizational change. The key component to direct decision making is standardization and consistency because without this the leader may be sending mixed signals throughout the organization and this can breed feelings of confusion and contempt. Resource Control: Another form of influence that leaders wield is that of resource control.

By controlling resource allocations leaders are able to control and direct the organization (Nahavandi, 2006). Resource control empowers the leader by providing them with the power to increase, decrease, or stop funding inefficient organizational efforts or practices. Creating Rewards: Leaders are also able to influence an organization by controlling the organization’s reward system (Nahavandi, 2006). By having control over the organizations reward system, the leader can mold the organization into one that conforms and promotes their organizational vision.

Used correctly, this form of leadership influence can effectively change an organization over time by rewarding those who buy into and promote the leaders style of leadership. Promoting and Selecting Leaders: In addition to the above influence factors, leaders also are empowered to select and promote the leadership within the organization (Nahavandi, 2006). This provides them with a powerful tool to influence and effectively create an organizational following of their values and vision.

By selecting leaders who mirror their values and leadership style, the leader is able to create a loyal and like minded leadership staff. While this may be an effective influence tool, the leader risks alienating key personnel and breeding doubts about their ability to lead if they utilize this form of influence in an unethical manner. Modeling Behaviors: Finally, leaders can also use their influence to model the behavior of their subordinates (Nahavandi, 2006). They achieve this by providing guidance and advise to their followers and by inviting others to participate in organizational team building activities.

When leaders actively promote and encourage their followers to follow their examples they are effectively molding the future behaviors of their followers. However it should be noted that if the leader provides too much guidance or demands too much of their followers, the leader may be resented and achieve less than optimal performance levels from their follower base. The chart below highlights the different leadership influence models that are employed by three of the top CEO’s in the technology business sector. Influence MethodSteve JobsBill GatesMichael Dell

Direct decisionsMicro-manages (Elkind, 2008, March; Morris, 2008, March). Semi delegates and promotes creativity (Rooney, 2001, November). Highly delegates decisions and encourages innovation (Anonymous, 2005). Allocation of resourcesComplete control, hands on (Elkind, 2008, March; Morris, 2008, March). Solicits ideas and then decides course of action (Rooney, 2001, November). Solicits ideas and values team inputs for decisions (Anonymous, 2005). Reward systemControls rewards: Cancelled bonuses and handed out stock options (Elkind, 2008, March).

Rewards top performers by publicly granting them his approval (Pascal, 1995, April). Brief thanks and limited focus, teamwork emphasized (Park & Burrows, 2003, November). Selection and promotion of other leadersHand picked inner circle (Elkind, 2008, March). Selects leaders based on skills (Faletra, 2006, June). Promotes best performers and demotes those who fail to meet high standards (Park & Burrows, 2003, November; Anonymous, 2005). Role modelingPoor role model due to selfish and unethical behaviors (Elkind, 2008, March). Works hard and encourages innovation (Jai, 1994, November).

Demands honesty and integrity, teaches and educates (Anonymous, 2005). Conclusion In order to be effective, leaders need to be empowered with the necessary instruments of organization change. And while the manner in which they leverage this influence may vary, leaders need to be aware of the factors that may affect the influence tactics that they possess. References Anonymous. (2005). There’s something about Dell. Strategic Direction, 21(9), 8-11. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Elkind, P. (2008, March). The trouble with Steve. Fortune, 157(5), 88.

Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Faletra, R. (2006, June). The entrepreneurial spirit is gone: Gates’ departure signals an industry shift. CRN,(1201), 48. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Jai, S. (1994, November). Gates unguarded. InfoWorld, 16(47), 1,10. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Morris, B. (2008, March). What makes Apple golden. Fortune, 157(5), 68. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Nahavandi, A. (2006). The art and science of leadership (4th ed. ).

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Park, A. & Burrows, P. (2003, November). What you don’t know about Dell a look at the management secrets of the best-run company in technology. Business Week,(3856), 76- 84. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Pascal, Z. G. (1995, April). The once and future Microsoft. Upside, 7(4), 16. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. Rooney, P. (2001, November). Bill Gates, chairman & chief software architect, Microsoft. CRN, (971), 95. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database.


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