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Analyzing Authority and Position Power
“Powell’s Rules for Picking People”—Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done (Harari, 1996)”.
There are several types of position power and executives each display different types. Is there one type of power that is better than the other? The characteristics of a model CEO will be described as well as should the CEO assume the position by an internal vs. external route, the appropriate leadership style for the CEO and how the CEO should exercise power and authority.
Characteristics of a model CEO
The characteristics of a model CEO include leadership abilities such as decision-making and delegation. A successful CEO must be a visionary and capable to cast the vision to the organization. Additionally, a CEO must have the capability to develop and motivate a team, and back up his or her subordinates when a decision is made. Finally, a CEO must have enough credibility and technical competence to be able to make critical and timely decisions within the context of his or her authority.
Route of assuming power
The CEO position should be filled based on the current operating level of the organization. For instance, on one hand, one could say that it would make sense for the CEO of a company to have worked his/her way up the corporate ladder. By starting out at the lowest level and working his/her way up, that person will have developed a wealth of knowledge on how the various departments of an organization operate within each other.
In other words, the person will be well-versed on the overall operation of the company [which is critical in running an organization]. However, on the other hand, a company might elect to recruit externally. For instance, if the company has been running poorly for a specific amount of time, stockholders, board of directors, etc, might decide that bringing in a CEO with a proven track record in leading other organizations within the same genre might just be what the organization/company needs in order to get it back to where it needs to be.
In the end, rather the CEO position is filled from within the organization or from an outside party, the best interest of the organization must be considered and whichever route proves to be the most suitable solution will more than likely be the route traveled.
Appropriate leadership style
The appropriate leadership style for a CEO would be transformational. This style is one that the leader inspires their team to chare the vision of the organization. “They don’t necessarily lead from the front, as they tend to delegate responsibility amongst their teams. While their enthusiasm is often infectious, they can need to be supported by “detail people (Mindtools, n.d.)”. This leadership style usually appeals to the self-interest of others and promotes to motivate employees to perform up to and potentially beyond their own perceived abilities. There is a common style chosen, transactional leadership, which is more common with the management level of the organization. These leaders are those who take the delegation of responsibilities, coming down from the CEO, to ensure that the routine work is completed (Mindtools, n.d.)
Exercising power and authority
One of the best methods a CEO can use in order to exercise his/her power within their organization is by enforcing the rules and regulations of the organization (Kotter, 1999). Because the role of the CEO involves constant meetings with various entities both within and outside the organization, many employees do not see/comprehend the true measure of power that is exercised on a daily basis (Kotter, 1999). By speaking to the employees directly on the rules and regulations of the organization and taking direct action against those who violate those rules, it allows for the employees to see their CEO in a capacity that breaks the preconceived notions of sitting in an office and taking stock holder and board of directors meetings.
Another method of exercising power is by delegating power down to others in high organizational positions within the organization. It is impossible for the CEO of an organization to know what every department is doing every minute of every day. In order to ensure that the departments are performing as directed, the CEO bestows certain amounts of power to other members of his/her senior staff in an attempt to maintain operational efficiency. In many instances, this type of power includes, but not limited to, hiring and firing of personnel, and conflict resolution.
A model CEO is one that should be able to use his/her position in order to guide/govern their organization. The CEO should have knowledge of the various departments that comprise their organization. Rather that knowledge base is obtained by starting at the bottom and working their way up the organizational ladder to the CEO position or if it is done by an outside selection process, the power that the CEO has should also benefit and not hinder their organizational success. Furthermore, a model CEO should be able to delineate power to other individuals in order to maintain organizational efficiency. By doing this, it empowers individuals to think on their own.
Harari, O. (1996). Quotations from Chairman Powell: A leadership primer. Retrieved July 11, 2008, from http://www.govleaders.org/powell
Kotter, John P. John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1999.
Leadership Styles. (n.d.) Mindtools online. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm
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"Analyzing Authority and Position Power." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2014