It's often said that being able to direct others efficiently and effectively is a key attribute of any successful business leader. However, that type of influence shouldn't come because the leader abuses his or her power as a dictator would. Positional authority is critical to making the right decisions for the company, but it shouldn't be used when managing and leading people.
Positional power stems from the job title a person currently assumes. When it comes to relationships with co-workers and business partners, leveraging positional authority can be a bad path to go down as it erodes the power of communication and even creates resentment among employees.
The problems with positional authority
For example, say a specific task must be done. The manager in question appoints someone to do it without consulting them. If the employee has any grievances or concerns, they aren't given the chance to voice them and will not feel listened to. This results in two things. First, communication has not been used as an effective means of engaging with this employee. Second, it makes the employee resent the manager and even the workplace for forcing him or her to handle that specific task. Additionally, when people are forced to do specific tasks by a person in power, quality may suffer – they often do the bare minimum to be compliant with the order given to them, but no more than that.
Although leading with positional authority works in some instances, it often leads to people feeling wronged and disregarded. Instead, business leaders want to use their personal power when dealing with others. As professional speaker Dilip Abayasekara noted, personal power stems from the charisma that makes leaders themselves and has little to do with their job title.
Become a leader, not a boss
In today's society, it is possible that people are put into power for many different reasons. Some may feel they have to utilize their position to command people. What they really want to do is develop a committed and motivated following so they can lead without leveraging their title as incentive. By doing so, they can help maintain the integrity of communication throughout the organization while also ensuring the effectiveness and the quality of tasks.
Becoming a leader isn't something that happens when one person leaves a company or retires and another steps up to fill his or her spot. Becoming a leader takes a lot of time and experience. It's not something one becomes overnight simply because he or she inherits a specific title or position.
Job titles can give people influence over others but they certainly aren't necessary to lead. Instead, managers need to work on their people skills, which can be accomplished in a number of different ways, ranging from simply interacting with co-workers more frequently to taking leadership and management development training classes to help them develop these skills. If business directors want to influence people more effectively, they'll need to improve their leadership skills.