Role of Power

1 January 2017

The research questions are also designed to aid in continuously updating CCL program content and providing knowledge that is compelling to our participant groups. The purpose of this research is to understand how leaders use power, to learn about the situations in which power is exerted and to describe how individuals and organizations can improve their leadership through the effective use of power. The major findings of this research included: 1. Most leaders surveyed (94 percent) rated themselves as being moderately to extremely powerful at work.

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There is a notable correlation between leaders’ level in the organization and how powerful they believe themselves to be at work. 2. 28 percent of the leaders surveyed agree that power is misused by top leaders in their organization. 3. 59 percent of the leaders surveyed agree that their organization empowers people at all levels. 4. 41 percent of the leaders surveyed indicate that they would feel more powerful at work if they had more formal authority. 5. The top three most frequently leveraged sources of power are: the power of expertise, the power of information and the power of relationships.

The power of punishment, or the ability to sanction individuals for failure to conform to standards or expectations, is the least-leveraged source of power. 6. The three sources of power leaders believe will be most important to leverage in the next five years are the power of relationships, the power of information, and the power to reward others.

The power of relationships is most often used to promote one’s own personal agenda. 8. Leaders suggest that the power of relationships can be better leveraged by identifying desired relationships, investing in those relationships, and repairing damaged relationships. Center for Creative Leadership, CCL®, and its logo are registered trademarks owned by the Center for Creative Leadership. © 2008 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.

The concepts of power and leadership have been and will continue to be interconnected. While an individual may exert power without being a leader, an individual cannot be a leader without having power. For this study, the I2A team defined power simply as ‘the potential to influence others. This definition helps demystify power and puts into perspective the importance of using power in order to be an effective leader. In organizational settings, leaders must exert power to achieve individual, team, and organizational goals. Leaders must be able to influence their followers to achieve greater performance; their superiors and peers to make important decisions; and stakeholders to ensure the vitality of the organization.

The first asked participants to complete a short survey on computer kiosks during their weeklong participation in a CCL program. These data were returned to them by the end of their program week. The second method was an Internet survey that participants volunteered to take part in approximately two weeks following their CCL experience. This survey was more indepth and allowed the I2A research team to better understand the high-level trends that emerged from the in-class survey.

In-Class Survey The initial survey on leadership power focused on high-level trends and was completed by 260 participants attending a leadership development program at CCL’s Colorado Springs, CO USA campus. The typical participant was a male (73 percent), between the ages of 36 and 50 years old (68 percent), representing upper-middle management or the executive level (64 percent). Post-Program Survey Approximately two weeks following the CCL program, 45 participants who volunteered received an Internet survey that posed qualitative questions about power and leadership.

She also serves in a lead faculty role on custom client engagements. When she is not in the classroom, she conducts research on a variety of topics including power, the stress of leadership, and team effectiveness. Vidula holds a doctorate in Communication from the University of Texas at Austin. Michael Campbell is a Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Creative Leadership. Michael’s work focuses on understanding the behaviors and challenges of senior executive leaders including such topics as selection, sustaining tenure, and talent sustainability.

He currently manages CCL’s assessment database which contains leadership data on over 40,000 individual leaders. Judith Steed is a Research Associate and Executive Coach at the Center for Creative Leadership. Judith seeks to identify and measure the sustainable business impact of executive development programs. She leverages both research and evaluation to better understand and strengthen program designs in service of improved personal and organizational leadership. She is particularly interested in the connection between personal transformation and professional productivity.

Kyle Meddings is a senior at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs studying Management and Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management as well as Leadership Studies. He is also a fourth year scholar in the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. Kyle has been serving as an intern at the Center for Creative Leadership working with the Ideas2Action project team.

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