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One of the greatest resources of any organization is talent from the front line worker through executive leadership. Talent comes in many forms and each team member brings a unique construction of reality. Some talent is obvious; other talent requires cultivation, motivation, and support. Some talent barely performs yet remains employed while other high performing talent remains unrecognized. Leaders must recognize and manage both ends of this diverse spectrum in order to achieve organizational success.To PrepareReview the Learning Resources.Consider the unique talents and contributions that may help a leader recognize his or her vision.Post a one page evaluation of unique talents and contributions of others that can help a leader to recognize his or her organizational vision. How do you influence the behavior of the unwilling, unconcerned, or unmotivated? Give examples from your own leadership experience. BE sure to use at least at least two scholarly sources to support your primary posting.Note: Support your postings with specific reference to all resources used in its preparation. Use correct APA formatting for all resources.


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You have to look at leadership through the eyes of the followers and you have to live the
message. What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the
source of their own power.
Body and Soul, 214
Leadership eventually comes down to influencing others. Even with a strategic vision and skills
in managing change, leaders must know how—and be willing—to influence others.
This chapter deals with the north–west axis of our basic leadership model, the relationship
between leaders and followers. Our earlier definitions of power and leadership (highlighted in
this page), along with the discussion of levels of influence (behavior, conscious thought, and
VABEs (values, assumptions, beliefs, and expectations)), compel us to consider how we might
think about influencing others at Level Three.
Power is the ability to get others to do what you want them to do.
Leadership is the ability to influence others and the willingness to influence others so that they
respond voluntarily.
Historically, leadership was associated with title or position. Later, in the mid-twentieth century,
leadership was described in formulaic fashion, often as planning, organizing, motivating, and
controlling (POMC), or knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits (KASH). These approaches were
designed to get others to do what the leader wanted them to do, our definition of power.
The widely read and quoted classical view of power comes from French and Raven,1who
concluded that people influence others by using one or more of five fundamental sources of
power: legitimate authority, coercion, reward, expertise, and reference. Legitimate influence is
based on the follower’s recognition of the legal authority of the title of the leader. If the follower
believes that people should obey their bosses (or the teacher, the duke, the coach, or whatever
title is presented), then the follower will allow those people to influence him or her, in effect
giving them power. This legitimacy may be because of nobility, organizational title, rank in an
organization, or some socially defined right to respect, such as age or seniority. We say that the
CEO of a company has a legitimate right to tell others what to do by virtue of his or her title.
Police have a legitimate right to tell citizens what to do.
1 Based on the classic article by John R. P. French Jr. and Bertram H. Raven, “The Bases of
Social Power,” in D. Cartwright (ed.) Studies in Social Power (Ann Arbor: University of
Michigan, Institute for Social Research, 1959), 150–167.
1. Legitimate authority
2. Coercion
3. Reward
4. Expertise
5. Personal reference
Coercion, of course, is based on fear. Coerced followers are afraid of the consequences if they do
not do what the leader wants them to do. These consequences could be physical, emotional,
social, or professional, such as losing one’s job or having private or secret information publicly
exposed. Sometimes, coercion is nothing more than force of personality, the ability to intimidate
a person by fixed stares, glowers, or other facial expressions and intimations.
Reward power comes into play when the leader influences others by offering them something in
return for their conformity. These relationships are usually if-then relationships (e.g., “If you do
this for me, then I’ll do that for you”). Reward power is based on the leader’s ability to exchange
something of value to the follower, which may often involve money, access to business deals or
people, positive evaluations, and so on.
Expertise influence comes about when one person knows more about a critical issue than
another. If the job, for instance, is to build a bridge, and the group includes only one civil
engineer, this engineer is likely to exert the most influence and become the leader of the
group. In another group or relating to another goal, of course, the engineer might have no
influence. Expertise power depends largely on the task at hand and on followers’ perceptions of
the relevance of the leader’s skills.
Finally, referent power relates to the ability to influence others because they admire, respect, and
want to be like the leader. People who want to emulate a person’s style will be influenced by that
style. People who want to join a club will be open to influence by those who control admission to
the club. Referent power is the source of what society often calls “wannabes,” those “groupies”
who follow celebrities around with the desire to be closer to them and more like them, to be
included in their inner circles.
People can and do draw upon all of these sources of influence in any given situation.
No one uses one source of influence exclusively. Not all sources of power are equally
useful, though, depending on the situation, the people involved, and expectations for the
future. In the view of leadership described here, reward, expertise, and referent power
are all more effective in the long run than legitimate and coercive power. The reason is
that legitimate power and coercive power diminish the possibility of a voluntary
response, and followers’ voluntary response is a defining aspect of leadership.
In the long run, all enduring and effective relationships, leader–follower relationships included,
are voluntary and reciprocal in nature.
Legitimate power relies on title rather than on expertise or willingness to exchange
rewards. Data from around the world show that the level of respect middle managers
have for their senior executives is low, which suggests that legitimate power is not the
basis for excellent leadership. Further, legitimate power and coercion often go hand in
hand. Coercion may get people to comply in the short run, but it will not have the
staying power of the more respectful sources of influence. Coercion is a Level One
source of influence: “You do what I say or you’ll be punished, and I don’t care what you
think or feel about it.” Using coercion or legitimate power as a basis for getting things
done is a formula for mediocrity, not world-class performance.
Expertise power that relies largely on skills and judgments and reward power that relies
on mutual exchanges can both be considered rational or Level Two sources of
influence. In these uses of power, one person tries to change the thinking of the other
person, to persuade the other. The Level Three values of the followers come into play
when they consider whether the rewards offered by the leader are attractive, but the
target focus is on logical persuasion.
Finally, when someone follows because they want to emulate the leader, they are
responding at a VABE level or Level Three. Our identities—who we think we are and
who we want to be—are a significant part of a referent response. For this reason, labels
and memberships are important in the world, in general, and in leadership roles, in
particular. When we say, “I am a Christian” or “I am a Muslim” or “I am a Delta Tau” or “I
want to be like John Kennedy,” we declare to the world something about our core
values and beliefs. Religious leaders, leaders of not-for-profits, political leaders, national
leaders, regional leaders, cult leaders, and some business leaders all recognize the
power of a Level Three referent approach. Those who ignore it may well have
significant influence using the other bases of power, but they “leave something on the
table” in terms of their potential for influence. Furthermore, given our definition of
leadership, any source of power that gets people to respond involuntarily is something other than
leadership. In this view, coercion moves a person out of the realm of leadership. Individuals may
be exerting power and people may be responding, at least in the short run at Level One, but if
they aren’t responding willingly, then it is not leadership.
Clearly, legitimate power and coercion are common sources of influence used by people in
positions of power today. Many people respond to the wishes of others either because they
assume that the “boss” has the right to ask, has all the answers, or has the power to hurt them in
some way. These approaches are common and well recognized as a means of getting things
done,2 but they are not leadership. Stephen Covey once asserted that when you use your title as a
means to get something done (e.g., “I’m the vice president, so you need to do what I ask!”),
you’re using a crutch. Similar to a walking crutch, a leadership/power crutch is unwieldy and
doesn’t contribute much to world-class performance. Therefore, even if you have positional
power or the means to coerce others, if you use it, you’re undermining your own ability to lead.
2 See, for example, the chapter on coercion in Edwin C. Nevis, Joan Lancourt, and Helen G.
Vassallo, Intentional Revolutions (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1996).
One way to test this concept is to ask a central leadership question, Are these people doing this
work because I told them to or because they understand why we need to do it and voluntarily
agree that it’s the right thing to do? If the answer is “Because they understand and agree,” then
you’re on the road to becoming an effective Level Three Leader. If the answer is “Because you
told them to,” then you might rethink the long-term consequences of your approach to
influencing others. In the long run, all enduring and effective relationships, leader–follower
relationships included, are voluntary and reciprocal in nature.
See others as potential allies.
Clarify your goals—what you want.
Determine what the other person wants.
Determine what of value you can give to the other.
Determine whether you have a relationship foundation for exchange.
Select a basis for exchange and begin exchanging until it is reciprocal.
The purpose of any attempt to influence others, of course, is to generate energy in their
responses. That is, leaders want to get “buy-in” for their ideas. “Buy-In” is a term that practicing
managers and management students alike use frequently. They may say something like, “I’d talk
to the boss (or my employees) and make my case and get their buy-in and then go on from
there.” Many seem to assume in this equation that buy-in is a binary thing, something you either
have or you don’t.
Buy-in is not really a binary construct. And it’s more complex than “positive, neutral, or
negative.” Consider the analog scale shown in Table 15-1. There are at least seven different
Table 15-1 Levels of Buy-In
1. Passion
2. Engagement
3. Agreement
4. Compliance
5. Apathy
6. Passive resistance
7. Active resistance
of buy-in or commitment to leadership that we might consider. The first level of response to
attempt by others to lead is active resistance. This is when the intended followers actively fight
against what the leader(s) want. Forms of active resistance might include sabotage, revolt,
rebellion, and striking.
Passive resistance is a step above active resistance but it’s nothing to be proud of. People who
resist passively wouldn’t think of themselves as revolutionaries, but as opposed to leadership
initiatives and willing to be resistant without being recognized. Passive resistance includes
slowing down work, making “inadvertent” mistakes, doing only what’s asked, and emphasizing
leadership faults in conversations.
Apathy is when employees just don’t care one way or the other about what management says.
These employees show up, ignore leadership, and after going through the motions, go home.
What they care about is not what’s happening at work.
Compliance is doing just what one is supposed to do in order to obey. Compliance is “going
through the motions,” obeying the letter of law or policy or instruction without any consideration
of the intent.
Agreement is when employees will say, “I agree to do that,” but they don’t have any personal
energy or engagement in the task. Agreement is, at least, positive and not negative in nature.
Employees operating out of agreement are more positively motivated than those in compliance.
Engagement is when employees say not only “I will do that,” but “I want to do that.” Most
leaders would be happy to have this level of buy-in, in that it reflects an internal commitment
beyond obedience that augurs well for performance and results. Engaged employees are eager
toget to work and eager to engage in the content of their work. They tend to go the extra mile, to
think beyond what they’re asked to do, and to apply their best efforts while at work.
Passion is a step above engagement in that passionate people put their work as first priority in
their lives. Everything else is subservient and secondary to their professional activities. You may
think this definition extreme, and in some ways it is. To the extent that excellence is a neurotic
lifestyle, it takes passion for the work to organize everything else in life around it. People with
passion tend to have few ancillary or alternative interests. They are driven. They may become
workaholics. Consider for example, John Steinbeck, the Nobel Prize–winning author of The
Grapes of Wrath. While he was writing the book, he kept a diary. Part way through the writing,
he was fussing with his wife and noted in his diary that if a man is a writer and he has a wife and
he cannot write, he should get a new wife. This is shocking to many who believe that family
should come first. In Steinbeck’s case, his professional activities came first and all else was
organized around it. He’s not alone. Many world-class performers throughout history have done
the same thing out of passion for their work.
One set of questions arises at the individual level as we consider this continuum of buy-in. Any
leader or coach or supervisor might ask him- or herself what level of buy-in or motivation are
they getting from each individual employee. One might also ask the group-level questions about
one’s team or department. One could also ask the same buy-in questions with regard to an
organization. Consider, for example, issues of environmental friendliness and sustainability.
Does an individual “buy-in” to the idea that we need to develop environmentally friendly ways
of conducting business? What about the department in general? Finally, does theorganization as
a whole comply with the laws in this regard, agree with them, engage the concepts, or lead
passionately in its industry to implement sustainable concepts because they are the right thing to
Additionally, we may ask, What kinds of leadership techniques and approaches tend to lead to
higher levels of buy-in? This will be the focal point of the next three chapters as we explore the
kinds of reactions that Level One, Level Two, and Level Three techniques tend to produce in
others. In these chapters, we’ll identify what those various techniques might be and how they
tend to influence others on average. In the meantime, we note that many managers rely on their
title, their “legitimate” authority, to get others to do what they want them to do. Our buy-in
continuum suggests, however, that followers will choose how to respond to all attempts to lead
them. Just because a person in authority, an “authoritor,” says they should do something doesn’t
necessarily mean they will do it, or if they do, it will be without any vigor or energy.
Allan Cohen and David Bradford3 take this fundamental insight several steps further and argue
that relationships in which influence—with or without authority—occurs are based on reciprocal
exchanges and that the currencies of these exchanges can be identified and managed. These
currencies are not monetary currencies, but psychological ones in which people will exchange,
for instance, effort for praise, work for recognition, and compromise for inclusion. Cohen and
Bradford assert that this exchange model implies the following logical sequence to developing
influence with others:
3 Allan R. Cohen and David L. Bradford, Influence without Authority (New York: John Wiley &
Sons, 1991).
Assume the other persons are potential allies in accomplishing your
purposes. If you can’t make that connection, it will be difficult to consider giving
them something they want in exchange for something you want from them. This
perspective aligns with the view—the six steps to effective leadership—that a key
leadership skill is to clarify what others can contribute to your cause.
Clarify your goals so that you know what you want. This step is consistent
with our principle of clarifying your vision. If you are unclear about what you want,
how can you assess whether others can contribute and how to begin to invite
Build on Kotter and Gabarro’s famous article on managing your boss4 by
carefully assessing the other person’s world in order to understand their
concerns, their priorities and goals, and their immediate needs. Unless you make
this type of assessment, you are unlikely to be able to offer them something they
want in return for giving you something you want.
4 John Gabarro and John Kotter, “Managing Your Boss,” Harvard Business
Review, R0501J.
1. Assess your resources to determine what you can give that they want or need. Sometimes
you must evaluate your own willingness to give recognition or praise or other forms of
interpersonal currency where you otherwise might not do so.
2. Diagnose your relationship with the other person to see whether the underlying
foundation supports a series of exchanges. This step is similar to the need to have the
moral rock or moral foundation in place before you begin trying tools and techniques of
leadership influence. If the foundations of trust and respect are not in place, developing
influence on an exchange basis will be difficult.
3. Select a basis for exchange and start making exchanges in the relationship until it begins
to be a comfortable and ongoing reciprocally rewarding relationship, much like a
business relationship. If you haven’t established a relationship with the other that will
support exchanges of mutually valuable currencies, trades or interactions are not likely to
The focus in the Cohen and Bradford model is on the medium of exchange between people, a set
of various kinds of psychosocial currencies that are ethereal but very real. People value these
currencies differently. If you are skilled in identifying them, identifying which ones a person
values, and in exchanging them, you can significantly enhance your ability to influence
regardless of your title or authority. Cohen and Bradford identify several currencies in which
people can trade influence: inspiration-based currencies, task-related currencies, position-related
currencies, relationship-based currencies, and personal-related currencies.
Inspiration-based currencies include vision, excellence, and moral correctness. When you have a
vision with larger significance for your department, organization, community, or society, the
other person may wish to be a part of it and will do what you ask in exchange for being included.
If you are part of a team that is recognized for being outstanding at what you do, the other person
may be open to influence in order to associate in some way with this reputation for quality.
Alternatively, the other may be inspired by the moral rectitude of your activity and wish to
participate in it. The inspiration currencies that the leader exchanges for followership are a new
view of where to go, of how good it could be, and of how right it is.
Task-related currencies include new resources, opportunities to learn, home job support, rapid
response, and information. If y …
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