Leadership Study Essay

1934 words - 8 pages

The ability to be a leader has been studied extensively. Throughout this extensive study, some have pointed to leadership being a born trait (Northouse, 2012) while others point to the ability to learn the skills associated with becoming a great leader (Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy, 2012). While each side has its own valid points, one way to argue either way to see these skills in action. Whether these skills are seen in a high school student government association or the office of a large nationwide non-profit, they are present. The study of leadership has led to the description of several different styles of leadership. These styles include legitimate, expert, information, connections, referent, coercion and reward power. No matter the type of experiences a person has, they will most likely see these types of power.
Legitimate power may be one of the easiest forms of power to identify. Hughes and colleagues (2012) refer to legitimate power as one’s formal or official authority. This power is mostly appointed, but can be given through democratic processes (Sager, 2008). A leader who asks someone to complete a task or assigns a specific role to someone can be seen as legitimate. Local culture, as defined by the bureaucratic and chain of command within an organization, is a great way to identify who has legitimate power. A call center environment is a great example of this legitimate power hierarchy. Within one such environment the company was divided amongst several different leaders. The top of the hierarchy was the channel manager, who is held accountable to the client. Below this level are two managers who assign the task of contacting customers to those employees who make direct contact with clients. These two managers monitor goal compliance such as sales and understanding of the product. Although these managers hold the line staff accountable to these goals, there may be one level of accountability before reaching the staff who make direct contact with clients. These staff members work hand in hand with the managers holding line staff accountable for product knowledge, sales entry and quality control. These senior sales members are assigned the role of being slightly above the line staff and have also achieved a certain type of expert power within their area of study (sales entry, product knowledge and quality control).
These senior sales members have achieved expert power within their chain of hierarchy. After being hired they were trained in their specific areas. Sager (2008) describes the power as an ability to influence others based on a person’s specific knowledge, skill or ability. What differentiates an expert from a legitimate leader is the way they gained their knowledge. Sager (2008) points to a legitimate leader ascending to expert power while experts have credibility from working or being exposed to this particular information. Senior sales associates gained their expert knowledge from previous experts in their field....

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