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Three types of Power One of my favorite leadership books is, "Principle Centered Leadership" by Stephen R Covey. In it, he talks about three types of power, a lesion that I believe is helpful for all of us.
The three types of power are:
Coercive Power-Basically this means to lead out of fear. Followers follow because they fear the consequence, imposed by the leader, if they dont follow. Such as being humiliated in a sales meeting, being yelled at or reprimanded or perhaps they fear losing something good like a bonus or vacation day that the leader will revoke. The worst is when they fear losing their job. Its not a good leadership situation when your group follows by fear because the followers are only acting committed on a superficial level. In the end the employees generally sabotage the leader (usually when the leader is not looking) and their loyalty only will run as deep as the fear. You will end up trapped in a downward spiral. If you find yourself in this leadership pattern, it's not something you can fix overnight. The road to regain the trust of your group can take a while. Be patient, winning over of the team's trust is worth it.
Utility Power- this is when the power of the leadership comes from the exchange of goods. The followers have what the leaders want, like a sales person's time and talent. The leader has something the follower wants, like commissions. The followers follow because they want the benefit that the leader can offer. This is a simple and most common form of power. It is not negative per se; it is effective, but not the ultimate goal. One problem that utility power presents is that it rewards each person for their achievements and can create a by product of individualism. Competition is good on the sales floor, but not at the expense of a positive culture. The problem I run into is how do you continually improve your spiff programs. They get bigger and better; until you max the budget then you have to bring everyone back to reality. If utility power is all you have, what will you motivate the team with in that situation? (most car people will then move back to coercive power and this is when the yelling and screaming meeting comes in, a further downer)
Legitimate Power-this comes when the follower believes in the cause of the leader. The follower trusts the leader, respects the leader and honors the leader. This power is hard to get! It takes time to cultivate and takes patience to earn. But once earned, it can transform your team to a whole new level. One thing that really catches my attention regarding legitimate power is that it is based on the leader honoring and respecting the follower. At first, I thought it may be a misprint, but after thinking about it, that is 100% correct. If we want the respect of our team, it is our job to honor and respect them first. Too many times we as leaders take the stance that "they owe me the respect and when they show it, they will earn mine.: A leader who is not willing to earn the respect of the followers, in my opinion simply owns a title.
If you want to earn the respect of others, honor them first. Stay consistent to the principles you believe in and be patient. The respect will come. If you want to earn trust and respect faster, go further out of your way to take care of your team. Leading a team in a dealership is hard work. There are some unique and demanding dynamics that present some unique challenges; I think that's why I like it so much!