Chapter 5- Leadership and Power

As observed in my research of the Jonestown Massacre, ambivalence to power has the potential to create very destructive endings. The people of Jonestown refused to challenge Jim Jones and were eventually led to death. Unhealthy use of power is detrimental and ignoring the reality of this matter hinders our ability to use power effectively and efficiently. This chapter does an excellent job of outlining sources of power and the benefits and costs that come with each; coercive, reward, legitimate, expert, and referent. Of these sources, legitimate power carries the best benefit to cost ratio. The authors allude that legitimate power resides in the position rather than in the person.

empowermenthands.jpgEmpoweringothers involves distributing power for five reasons: 1) increase follower rask satisfaction and performance, 2) foster greater cooperation in the group, 3) ensure the survival of the group or organization, 4) encourage the personal growth and learning of group members, 5) prevent power abuses. For these reasons group members are allowed to explore their leadership skills and abilities, however; leaders must be careful when delegating tasks. Tasks and decision-making authority should be given to appropriate group members that are comfortable with the responsiblity. On the other hand, group members should also be given opportunities to explore new responsibilities that may make them uncomfortable but will ultimately benefit them in the long run. Actions such as these help followers gain confidence in their abilities.

For more information on leadership and influence see chapter 6.
For more information on transformational and charismatic leadership see chapter 4.