Can only a leader lead? Can a follower also be a leader? Do they exhibit the same traits as one another? Can the power of leadership be spread throughout a group? Richard Hughes (1993) describes power has the potential to influence others and influence is behaviors used to changes another person’s behavior. “Difference between power and influence power is potential and influence is power in use.” (Pfeffer, J, PSWC 2020) There are many sources of power in which a leader utilizes based on their situation and talents can use their power to influence others to change their behavior and complete their tasks or tasks of the company.
Expert power is the power of being a subject matter expert that influence others because they depend on you for your knowledge. As a leader may be new to a workplace they may not go right into a leadership role that they actually are an expert power. A good leader would empower his followers into a position that would allow for the influence to continue within the workplace. From Richard Hughes (1993) leaders in a well-functioning organization have a strong influence over their subordinates, they are also being influenced by them. Though having expert power does not mean you are in a leadership role your influences, as well as the backing of your leader, allows your organization to be effective. The expert power a follower has not only influences other followers but is also a learning experience in which the leader who empowered you learns from you that will increase their overall power base.
Referent power is another way in which strength in relationships a leader or a follower can influence others within their organization. “In other words, leadership is a process that emerges from a relationship between leaders and followers who are bound together by their understanding that they are members of the same social group, people will be more effective leaders when their behaviors indicate that they are one of us, because they share our values, concerns, and experiences, and are doing it for us, by looking to advance the interests of the group rather than own personal interests.” (Peters, Kim 2018) Followers listen to individuals they can relate to and less to someone who only uses power to less liked or more of an authoritative attitude. The way a follower can lead in this perspective of power is if someone has been within an organization for say ten years and a new hire comes in with little to no experience. Through time and influence, the more impact referent power has on both followers and leaders.
Hughes, Richard (1993) Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience. Homewood, IL. Irwin. Ch. 5. pp. 107-131.
Pfeffer, J. (n.d.). Power and influence in the collaborative age. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2045005/discussion_topics/12852815?module_item_id=28166630
Peters, Kim, & Haslam, A. (2018). Research: To Be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/08/research-to-be-a-good-leader-start-by-being-a-good-follower