This period in the world has been characterized by great stress and hardship for many companies and people involved in the Covid-19 emergency. Personally, I thought I would be untouched but to my disappointment I have been proven wrong. Not only do I live in Italy where the emergency has been considerably brought to a high level. I also have a husband who was caught in the Abu Dhabi emergency. The professional cycling race taking place in the United Arab Emirates was stopped. A false positive was the result of 800 people being confined in their hotel rooms for 5 days. My husband who is part of the directing committee had to wait for his test to come back negative before even trying to get athletes and workers back to their respective countries. This emergency was incredibly tough and brought out different leadership patterns. His usual leadership style and power to influence his followers changed due to crises. (Hughes, Richard, etal,1993)
My husband who is an ex professional athlete finished his career and was hired by a company that organizes high level sport events, he works for the Olympic committee as well. Obviously having been an athlete for 38 years of his life he was not high in Expert power as far as office requirements like computer tasks. At the beginning he had little to no expertise in the overall role he covered as it required knowledge in areas he has never studied. Although he had low preparation and gaps in his preparation made him uncomfortable at the beginning, he covered with his great knowledge as far as the actual sport dynamics. He was a role model due to his athletic accomplishments this made him appreciated.
Expert power is the power of knowledge. (Hughes, Richard, et al, 1993) Lack of expertise made him vulnerable in certain situations making it tough for him to take charge. When the situations needed expertise such as programming online or other business orientated tasks even if my husband was good at them, he felt less strong as a leader. When it came to certain tasks like excel sheets his power to influence diminished as this was not his expertise. His low level of preparation in certain areas though were and are covered by interpersonal ties he has created among his followers.
His role required his sports knowledge as well. Situations that were tied to the actual sport required his skill and judgment. So, when he was involved in what his expertise covered such as deciding what roads the races should run on, he felt comfortable and was influential. Referent power has always been what my husband relies on when he lacks in expertise. (Hughes, Richard, et al, 1993, ch.5, pg.114) He is admired as leader because he always asks when he does not know something, and he always treats everyone equally. Paolo my husband is seen as a role model therefore is an example of someone who has Referent Power. (Hughes, & Richard. 1993).
Although he could have easily walked into the job arrogantly and exercised legitimate power, he did not. Legitimate power depends on a person’s organizational role. (Hughes, & Richard. 1993, ch5, pg.116). He could have influenced his followers requesting and demanding as his role in the company states. Paolo instead have always influenced others without exercising his positions authority. He is influential by asking collaboration this makes his position and the fact he is a leader synonymous. This is confirmed in ch.5 of enhancing the lessons of experience; Effective leaders intuitively realize they need more than legitimate power to be successful. (Hughes, Richard, et al, 1993, ch.5, pg. 116).
As Paolo is someone that would never draw on his position for anything, he has always been someone who has gone up and forward thanks to all the people that like helping him and value him. He is the type of leaders that has never used his voice or strength to make decisions go through. I sometime listen to him and ask myself how he can be so nice and patient even to people who do not deserve it. This week though in Abu Dhabi the situation was critical. Everyone had to get tested for covi-19 and as the test came in he had to make sure they all got cleared to go home. This was an enormous job, people were getting mad and not collaborating as they would usually. Paolo got to the point that he had to raise his voice and direct like he never has before. Hughes, Richard, et al, describe this as a time of crises, when a leader must exert more power than during periods of relative calm. (Hughes, Richard, et al, 1993).
His interpersonal relationships with his followers and his usual leadership style that sees him using Referent Power to influence is colleagues was not influential in this emergency. When he was finally left out of confinement, he had to draw on his legitimate power in order to influence his followers quickly and get them to focus. He was very stern and had to be stronger vocally in order to get all the people he needed to help him without panicking. The fact he has never abused of his legitimate power and used it in this special situation made a significant mark. This emergency affected Paolo’s capacity to influence his followers. (Hughes, Richard, et al. 1993, ch.5, pg.107). House describes power as the capacity to produce effects on others, or as Bass writes the potential to influence others. (Hughes, Richard, et al. 1993, ch5, pg.107). In this instance power was used in the correct way, he was heard and greatly impacted all the people around him. The result of Power being exercised to influence was that everyone who was not positive stayed safe and came home two days after all the negative test results arrived.
Hughes, Richard, et al. (1993). Leadership: enhancing the lessons of experience. Homewood: Irwin.