Influential power within the workplace and beyond is a topic that can change how personnel within an organization are seen. Within the military many find power and influences play a role in dictating the outcome of many careers. Sounds odd that there would still be a good old boys club but in many units there are. It is not seen as often as during WWI and WWII, but today it still has a place. Each power that is controlled has changed the outlook of a young Soldiers mind to stay in or leave the military for good.
Starting with Referent power, it’s how you are seen within an organization and the reputation you hold. Currently, many higher leaders have a reputation for getting the job done and being able to take care of Soldiers and their families. This power will truly on take you as far as long as people see you in that light. If anything were to happen and a mistake was made, many would remember that mistake over the hundreds’ of other great things you were able to accomplish during your career.
Coercive and reward power comes to the leadership that has the most power within the unit. Commanders make decisions on punishment and reward each day. Does the Soldier that made a mistake deserve to be released from duty or how about the Soldier that goes above and beyond these responsibilities, does he/she deserve an Award. Many times just like the above we look at the last thing someone has done and made a judgment call on who a person is overall. Each reward comes with a connection to action as does punishment.
The pair of power that gets lost sometimes is the expertise and information powers. These are the Soldiers that take the duty of an operator serious and work/study hard to become the best all-around Soldier. They know their job and the organization. This is many times overlooked to someone that can run faster or jump higher. Sounds silly but within the Military the more physical fit you are, the more the leadership looks at you as a leader. Seems backward to the corporate world but in fact, many Soldiers choose to leave the military for civilian jobs that pay for the information and expert knowledge.
All power is used for both positive and negative. It’s a leader choice to push and pull the power that holds to enhance the organization overall or use the power to better themselves within the organization. Each comes with drawbacks. The more you use a power to influence others for something other than the better of the employee or organization, the more employees will choose to look at other opportunities for the future.
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing cultural differences. Global leaders, culture, and a changing world. (9th ed.). Oxford: Routledge.