7 Leading

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this chapter is to:

  • 1) Explain the role that leadership plays in the management process
  • 2) Describe the five sources of power
  • 3) Explore the use of leadership within and outside the organization


Leading is stimulating high performance by members of the organization (Bateman and Snell, 2013).  This function is getting members of the organization on board with your plan.

Normally, this means connecting with direct reports or teammates on a personal level.  Understanding what drives individuals within the team allows a manager to design strategies around motivating, incentivizing, mobilizing, and arousing a desire to contribute.

Imagine for a minute, that you analyzed the conditions of the organization, you determined a game plan to pursue and even directed resources to step in that direction.  You have successfully implemented the planning and organizing functions.  In this scenario, however, you did not give consideration to how your team or organization would be involved.  Do they agree with your direction?  Did they have input in the process?  Do they feel valued as a team member?  Do they understand their role in a successful outcome?   All of these questions are answered by the degree to which a manager is engaged in the leading function.

Having personal conversations, designing a bonus structure, or giving a rousing speech might all be considered leading the organization.

We have already reviewed in previous chapters that EVERYONE is a manager.  You manager your time, you manage your personal budget, you manage your career, and you manage your fantasy football team.  So what role does leading others play within those resources you manage?  Many scholars focus on distinguishing between leadership and management, and the conversation usually goes something like this: management is a position and leadership is a relationship with others.  Management is painted as transactional, and leadership is painted as transformational.  The reality is that both of these views hold credence.  Managers with a gameplan and resources without buy-in from the team won’t get far.  A leader who inspires and provides vision but does not manage resources well squanders opportunity.  Debating the differences between leadership and management is beyond the scope of this textbook, but it is important to acknowledge that effective leaders could not function without the employment of planning and organizing and managers could not function without figuring out how to motivate their team.


Sources of Power

Your ability to lead comes from several sources.  This power to influence gives you the ability to influence others within the organization.  The five sources of power are coercive power, charisma power, expertise power, reward power, and legitimate power (French & Raven, 1959).  Let’s review each of these individually by providing some examples.

Coercive power is the threat of punishment to influence others.  People comply with a manager using coercive power because they are compelled to avoid punishment.  This threat of force could include physical harm, social chastisement, emotional abuse, political consequences, or monetary withholding.  This is not true leadership, but manipulation.   As you can imagine, a manager employing coercive power would not truly motivate employees to get the best out of them.  Rather, employees are behaving in a way that elicits a bare minimum response to a situation to avoid negative consequences.   An example of coercive power is a manager who threatens to reduce work hours for a wage employee if they do not comply with a manager’s request.  All forms of quid pro quo sexual harassment would fall under this form of power.  An manager who yells at employees is eliciting compliance through coercion.  Employees comply with the manager because they want to avoid social embarrassment.  As you can imagine coercive power leads to a long list of negative organizational consequences such as lower job satisfaction, employee backlash, higher turnover, and reduced innovation (Yoon & Farmer, 2018).  Most of the consequences and results are negative with coercion, but some managers argue that a limited use of it can be necessary and highly effective.  Consider an employee who engages in intentional insubordination, or unsafe workplace practices.  A manager can use other forms of influence to get an employee to improve.  However, if none of those work, it would be a legitimate use of coercive power to threaten termination in these scenarios.  Coercion can also be effective in curbing harassment of any kind.

Charisma power is the ability to motivate others through the personal characteristics of the manager.  Followers are attracted to the aura of the individual and often work to emulate the behaviors they see.  Maccoby (2004) argues that charisma is the most powerful form of influence because it drives motivation from the deepest part of the followers’ emotions.  Under this form of influence followers want to do more than expected.   Examples of charisma power include a pre-game locker room speech, taking an employee out to lunch to listen to their story, or possessing the personality traits that people find attractive (humor, emotion, empathy).



Expertise power is the ability to influence through the possession of knowledge.  This knowledge can be an understanding of a process, a talent, skill, or capability to complete a certain task.  Expertise power becomes relevant in contextual situations, and can be garnered through reputation, credentials, or past performance.  An example of expertise power is the reliance on in-house lawyers to review a contract prior to sending it out.  That lawyer has expertise power and can influence the outcome of the contract or internal relationships as a result.  Doctors possess a tremendous amount of expertise power because of the complexity of medicine.  Programmers require an understanding of computer language which gives them influence over those who need applications constructed.  Engineers and architects carry a lot of expertise power in the context of their building project or bid process.  The ability to speak a foreign language is a form of expertise power if the use of that language becomes necessary in the organization. French and Raven (1959) note that someone does not actually have to possess the expertise, but rather if others around that person perceive that they do, they will assign that person the expertise power.





Reward power is the ability to influence others through the control of resources that others find value in.   Our understanding of reward power has advanced by the work of BF Skinner (1983) and the operant conditioning he found in pigeons and rats.  What he found in animals is that positive stimuli (rewards) encouraged behaviors, and negative stimuli (withholding rewards or punishment) discouraged behaviors.  Since his work, we have deepened our understanding of how people respond to rewards.  For example, a manager who has the ability to determine performance bonuses, can dole out additional paid time off, or puts together the weekly schedule has reward power.  Reward power stems both from the giving and withholding the resources people seek.  If someone does not perform well, they do not receive a bonus.  If they perform well, the manager authorizes the bonus.  Both of these scenarios will drive the desired behavior on the following period through the use of reward power.  Thibault and Whillans (2018) found that a responsible use of reward power leads to more satisfied employees, lower turnover, emotional engagement, and intrinsic motivation.

Legitimate power derives from the position that a manager has within the organization.  The power to make decisions and direct personnel through bureaucratic processes is the source of this power.  Legitimate power is a result of being appointed, elected, or selected to a position of authority.   People comply with legitimate power because they understand and respect the general hierarchy of organizations.  They are obedient to decisions made by a  manager because of this respect for hierarchy (Hinkin & Schriesheim, 1989).  Examples of legitimate power include a manager making a hiring decision, authorizing payment to a vendor, or the legal authority to sign a contract on behalf of the organization.   Soldiers follow orders of officers primarily because of legitimate authority.  Citizens obey the law.  Children respect the authority of parents.  What’s important to note is that while the rules and guidelines established under this form of influence are complied with, this form of power does not elicit motivation.  Legitimate power is best used in providing direction and execution of the gameplan.  The other forms of power are more instrumental in rallying the team to into bravado for the gameplan.




Understanding Your Team

We have reviewed the five sources of power, one of which includes reward power.   Because this is such a powerful influencer in the manager’s toolbox, it warrants further discussion here.   Remember, at this point in the managerial process you have a gameplan and resources allocated towards that plan.  The leading function requires the manager to motivate employees, but not all employees are alike.   Some people might respond well to a bonus incentive, others would prefer more time off as a reward.  The manager needs to have personal conversations with members of the organization to understand what drives them.  Chapman (1995) established a theory that people give and receive appreciation in different ways, known as the five love languages – words of affirmation, affectionate touch, gifts, quality time, and acts of service.  King (2017) suggests that four out of the five love languages to apply to office relationships to help managers understand what drives employee response to incentives.  She says that each of these (with the exception of touch) should be used to better understand how employees respond to your actions as a manager.   Some employees would like to be recognized publicly for their efforts when they do something well (words of affirmation).  Some employees would like to have lunch and an hour of the manager’s time just to talk (quality time).  Some employees would like to get a watch when they reach 10 years of service (gifts).  Some employees would like to see their boss help them on a complex problem (acts of service).   A manager must understand what drives employee behavior if the hope is they can attract them to full participation in the gameplan they have established.


Into the unknown

In order to get a team to go attach themselves to a vision and gameplan, a few elements must be considered.  A manager has to first create an environment where employees can focus on the plan, and second create credibility as a leader that compels followers to act.

Let’s start with creating a culture and climate that allows employees to focus.  Simon Sinek is a world renowned speaker and motivator.   His landmark book Leaders Eat Last (2017) lead us through a simple framework for effective leadership.  He states that the leader’s job is to make every member of the team feel safe.  This is not a recommendation that means there should not be conflict within the organization.  Rather, he states that leaders are supposed to create an environment where employees don’t have to worry about politics, favoritism, or job security.   Employees should feel like they have support and if needed, a leader who will sacrifice time and energy for them.  By creating this environment, managers can get employees to focus on the external environment where the opportunities lie and focus their energy on creating value instead of self-preservation.

Hollander (1958) discovered that leaders who hope to lead their team into the unknown must establish credibility with followers.  To achieve goals that are well beyond norm and to pursue a remarkable end, leaders must build a reputation and example that compels followers to get on board.  He argues that a leader who consistently emulates the behaviors desired in followers will build up credibility.   Once the manager has build up enough of this political capital, that leader can get the followers to pursue goals they have never pursued before.  The manager can lead the team into the unknown so to speak.  A great example of this the team captain for the 1995 World Cup Rugby team.  Francois Pienaar led the South African Springboks team to an upset of the heavily favored All Blacks from New Zealand.  He achieved this by showing up early to practice, and being the last man out of the weightroom.  His example gave him the credibility he needed to motivate his team as they rallied around him during the World Cup final.  In short, the leading function of management requires the manager to be the example for those in the organization that need to buy in to the gameplan.






Critical Thinking Questions

Research is clear that charismatic power is the most impactful for a manager.  Make your case for which of the other four is most useful.

This chapter argues that a manager needs to create a safe environment and build credibility to get team members to follow them.   What else should they do to elicit followership?

How can the leading function of management be leveraged within the context of Corporate Social Responsibility?


How to Answer the Critical Thinking Questions

For each of these answers you should provide three elements.

  1. General Answer.  Give a general response to what the question is asking, or make your argument to what the question is asking.
  2. Outside Resource.  Provide a quotation from a source outside of this textbook.  This can be an academic article, news story, or popular press.  This should be something that supports your argument.  Use the sandwich technique explained below and cite your source in APA in text and then a list of full text citations at the end of the homework assignment of all three sources used.
  3. Personal Story.  Provide a personal story that illustrates the point as well.  This should be a personal experience you had, and not a hypothetical.  Talk about a time from your personal, professional, family, or school life.   Use the sandwich technique for this as well, which is explained below.


Use the sandwich technique:

For the outside resource and the personal story you should use the sandwich technique.  Good writing is not just about how to include these materials, but about how to make them flow into what you are saying and really support your argument.  The sandwich technique allows us to do that.  It goes like this:

Step 1:  Provide a sentence that sets up your outside resource by answering who, what, when, or where this source is referring to.

Step 2:  Provide the quoted material or story.

Step 3:  Tell the reader why this is relevant to the argument you are making.








Chapter References

Bateman, T., & Snell, S. (2013).  M: Management (3rd ed).  McGraw Hill / Irwin: New York,



Chapman, G. (1995).  The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate.  Northfield Publishing:   Chicago, IL.


French, J. R. P., Raven, B. (1959).  The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright and A. Zander. Group dynamics.  Harper & Row: New York, NY.


Hagen, A., Udeh, I., & Wilkie, M. (2011). The Way That Companies Should Manage Their Human Resources As Their Most Important Asset: Empirical Investigation. Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), 1(1), Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), 02/11/2011, Vol.1(1).


Hinkin, T. R., & Schriesheim, C. A. (1989) Development and application of new scales to measure the bases of social power. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 561-567.


Hollander, E. (1958).  Conformity, status, and idiosyncrasy credit.  Psychological Review, 65,(2), 117-127


King, G. (2017).  How the relationship theory of “love language” can help your workplace relationships, too.  Quartz.  Retrieved from https://qz.com/1053563/love-languages-in-the-workplace-how-the-relationship-theory-can-help-your-office-relationships-too/



Liberman, L. (2014). The impact of a Paternalistic Style of Management and Delegation of Authority on Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment in Chile and the US. Innovar, 24(53), 187-196.


Maccoby, M. (2004). Why people follow the leader: The power of transference. Harvard Business Review, 82(9), 76-85, 136.


Sinek, S. (2017).  Leaders Eat Last.  Brilliance Audio: Grand haven , MI.


Skinner, B. F. (1983). A Matter of Consequences. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, NY


Thibault L. A., & Whillans, A. (2018). The power of workplace rewards: Using self-determination theory to understand why reward satisfaction matters for workers around the world. Compensation & Benefits Review, 50(3), 123-148.


Yoon, D., & Farmer, S. (2018). Power that Builds Others and Power that Breaks: Effects of Power and Humility on Altruism and Incivility in Female Employees. The Journal of Psychology, 152(1), 1-24.


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The Four Functions of Management Copyright © 2020 by Dr. Robert Lloyd and Dr. Wayne Aho is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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