As children, if we play a game of pretend most people would rather be Batman over Robin. Even from an early age we want to lead, even if we don’t know it yet. Some children want that position because it is the main character or the center of attention. As we transition to adulthood we figure out in a more realistic sense if this is something that we want to do. Some people want to be “in charge” or be at the forefront of whatever is going on in their respective field. On the other hand some people just want to “do their own thing”. Those that want to be in a leadership position or have power and influence may look at the other and think that they are just lazy or incapable. While the ones that do not want the leadership position may look at them as power hungry individuals. In my opinion these two groups are more similar than they may perceive.
Power and Influence comes into play here “Power is the capacity to cause change and influence is the degree of actual change in attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors” (Penn State, 2013). Power and influence is important in the leader-follower relationship. There are many different types of power: Expert, Referent, Legitimate, Reward, and Coercive, each ranging from knowledge to positional authority, to provide something positive in exchange for work completed, strength of the relationship and the ability to punish when necessary (Penn State, 2013). Influence comes in many different forms as well: Rational, Inspirational, Consultation, Ingratiation, Personal, Exchange, Coalition, Pressure and Legitimizing. Influence ranges from using logic, to enacting emotions, cooperation, flattery, personal favors, barter systems, social support, reprimands and positional influence. (Penn State, 2013).
It should be taken into consideration that people may still demonstrate both power and influence without being in a leadership position. From the two groups I mentioned earlier; the person determined to climb the corporate ladder and the other who wants to “just do their job”, these two people may want the same out of their careers, and that is job satisfaction. A person in an entry level position may be more satisfied than a CEO of an organization, relatively speaking of course. Recent research as pointed that Autonomy is the most important factor in determining Job Satisfaction in the workplace (New York Times), and that income did not play as a significant role as previously believed. Both types of people are really looking for some power and influence in their particular position; one over other people and the other over their situation. In essence both are leaders in their own right, and if either is unhappy or unsatisfied in their situation, their coworkers or subordinates will be affected by them in a negative way.
Boffey, P. M. . Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1985/05/28/science/satisfaction-
Penn State World Campus (2013). PSYCH 485 Lesson 7: Power and Influence
Retrieved on July 05, 2013, from