Emerging Leaders Program

Emerging Leaders

ICLD 1.8 Leadership and Power: Discussion Board

Instructor: Dr. Mitch
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 


  • Many important lessons learned in this module, but the two that made the greatest impression on me were the “why” and internalization. How simple of a theory, working toward getting everyone in an organization to buy into “why”. Great motivator and even better is if the “why” is held by most or all across an organization. All working toward attaining a specific goal and a specific outcome. A powerful statement, “Few organizations know why”. Define the purpose, the cause and the belief and an organization has no choice but to be successful.

    Internalization, I believe that as leaders, if we work to achieve this level with all in our organization then we have succeeded. I reflect on my 30+ year career and remember working for a supervisor that I trusted, knew he/she was competent and had values that aligned with mine. I wanted to be just like that person as my career progressed. I also worked for people that I had no faith in, didn’t feel they were competent and their values certainly didn’t align with mine, working for those leaders made for very long days and very unpleasant working conditions.

  • Hello everyone,

    I am sharing my thoughts on leadership and power, particularly regarding the importance of building relationships and trust with subordinates. It’s easy for newly promoted supervisors to assert their power without first taking the time to establish connections with their team members.

    From my experience, this can lead to tension and difficulties between leaders and followers. New leaders must keep their egos in check and focus on building relationships with their team members first.

    I recently read Michael Abrashoff’s book, It’s Your Ship, and was impressed by his leadership style. He prioritized clear communication, active listening, and individual attention to each member of his crew. These principles are crucial for any new supervisor to become a successful leader.

  • It is important to understand power in leadership. Authority gives power to influence and change behavior and it is important not to abuse this power. Power is the capacity of one person to influence another to achieve a goal and gives them the ability to get things done. Power does not always guarantee influence as influence level is a function of follower perception. In order to have power people must believe that you have the means to satisfy their needs or goals. This module discussed the bases of power, considerations for using power, and reactions to power. While some people may consider power to be corrupt but power is a fact of organizational life. Good leaders can use power to benefit others and to serve the organizational goals.

    • I completely agree with your statement. Power is an essential aspect of leadership, but it is vital to use it wisely. A leader who abuses their power will eventually lose the trust and respect of their followers. Understanding the different bases of power and how to use them effectively is crucial. Leaders who can use their power to benefit others and serve the organizational goals will ultimately be more successful. As you mentioned, influence is also a critical factor in leadership. A leader’s ability to influence their followers depends on their perception of the leader’s power and credibility. A good leader should strive to use their power and influence to create positive change and achieve common goals.

  • Simon Sinek is one of my favorite speakers on leadership and human drive/behavior. Sinek spoke about “The Golden Circle” which discusses the why, how, and what. Most companies focus on the what, but great companies focus on the why. This is the vision of a company and it invokes inspiration and loyalty. It activates the limbic part of the brain which is responsible for decision making behavior and is what people are most likely using when they reference leading with their heart/soul or making a gut decision. This is why having an agency’s decisions driven by a mission/vision statement can be so important.

    Sinek also talked about the “law of diffusion of innovation” which I think is an important thing to understand when trying to introduce new ideas or technology into a department. I’ve run into this first hand plenty of times. Some agencies just roll something out and hope it’ll work out eventually, but the best roll-outs happen in phases. Get a group of innovators and early adopters together and “sell” the new technology or procedure to them. Once they see the why and how it will improve an agency, they will hopefully help convince some of the early majority to join in the ranks and eventually it will be a wave that takes over the department. The 16% of laggers will still fighting tooth and nail but eventually will be taken over as well. Doing it in this manner can help prevent the 16% of laggers convincing the majority that it’s not worth the time or effort and sabotage the project.

    • One of the earlier modules talked about the important of intrinsic motivators in improving performance. People desire to do things because they matter, because they are part of something important. When companies focus on the “why” and are driven by their mission statements it gives employees a sense of purpose.

  • It is important to be able to lead in a way that shows respect. When you are given the power to lead and when you are given the keys to lead does not mean you are in complete control. It means you in my mind you are given the opportunity to make your squad and or department the best it can be. In our previous lecture a captain was given a ship that was what some might say a cancer to the fleet. The crew cheered when the previous commander left the boat. This is so powerful because it shows how a crew can have your back and still not respect you. Respect was earned because the new captain showed the ability to listen and understand the men and women on his ship. Anyone can lead, but not everyone can be a great leader. If you want the best from your team you need to show them that they are capable to do what is needed. We need to show them that we as leaders would not expect them to do anything that we would not do ourselves. We need to be fair, consistent but respect the team in everyway possible. The team will acknowledge that by the way they perform their duties.

    • This comment right here hits the proverbial nail on the head. I have always believed that everything we do in leading people and following people starts and ends with RESPECT.

  • I believe that the most important basis of power are Referent and Expert. By showing that you have the competency and knowledge to carry out a mission goal you gain respect from your men. When that respect is earned they will begin acting on your plans knowing that you will lead them well and because they do not want to disappoint you.

  • One of the biggest statements that stuck out to me during this training was “you only have as much influence as other think you have, regardless of your position in your organization” (Long, 2017). It really doesn’t matter if your title has you as a supervisor or a major, what matters is if your followers feel like you have the influence to make a difference or changes. As a supervisor, I have struggled with this in the past as my upper management wanted me to run everything through them prior to making a decision. It was very hard for my staff to view or respect me as a supervisor when I didn’t have the ability to make solo decisions regarding my staff. I slow began to step away and make the decision and then just inform upper management of the major concerns or issues. This really was the turning point for my staff recognize me as a supervisor who had influential pull.
    Long, L. (2017). Leadership and power. 1.8, Week # 3. National Command and Staff College. Retrieved from https://cloud.scorm.com/content/courses

    • You had mentioned the how your team would not respect you as a supervisor because of the inability to make a decision regarding your staff. Is this because of the higher command you report to. Did they limit what your abilities as a supervisor could be. I have always made decisions and stuck behind them regardless if it was right or wrong. I even tell my crew now that if I make a decision or if you make one. Stand behind it. Have validation to what you are doing and never hide behind the decision you make. I think this allows us to grow and succeed. If I get something wrong i learn from it and it wont happen again. But if something works out to the our benefit then that becomes self rewarding. Sometime we need to make our superiors see what needs to be seen and we need them to understand the decisions we make that will benefit the department and their leadership.

    • I would agree with your statement about having to run everything through the higher ups, what is the purpose of being a supervisor if everything you do has to be approved by someone else. Same goes for the people that work for me, i would rather they make their own decisions rather than asking me what they should do at every turn if thats the case i dont need them.

  • Sinek’s metaphor of the golden circle puts in perspective that people will buy your ideas if you start with your why. This is why we’re doing this, this is how we’re going to do it and this is what we are going to accomplish from it. Success is to be achieved in the long term goals.

  • I can’t help but wonder if when John French and Bertram Raven sat down and formulated the five bases of power in 1959 if they had any idea that, some sixty years later, we would be discussing these topics in a law enforcement forum on leadership. The topic in an of itself seems quite simple… You lead because you were chosen to lead (legitimate). You lead because you know what you are doing and you can pass on that knowledge to your subordinates (expert). You influence another person’s behavior because they revere you and thus trust you (referent). Then on that performance, you reward or punish, based on the outcome.

    This then ties in perfectly with Simon Sinek’s metaphor of the golden circle. To find success, I do not believe you can just articulate what needs to be done and how they need to do it. While that might help in achieving compliance, that is short term and really only gets the job done in the now. When the time comes for a new challenge, task, or requirement, you will have to do it all over again. Explaining the why, getting your subordinates motivated and involved in the process, believing in the results, will internalize the goals and change their way of thinking, achieving success in the long term.

  • I believe that it is just as important as how your subordinates view you as a leader, as you see yourself. If you believe that you are the “almighty” and “powerful”, your subordinates will obey you, but may not respect you. If you lead like that, you will have a following because they have to follow you, but not because they may want to which Granted, there are always excecptions to the rule. When people work for you, it should be out of a desire to grow, succeed, and improve by way of your leadership.

    • Charisma is an incredibly potent tool, especially in our line of work. There were many people in the world who led to very dark places with great charisma, like Adolf Hitler, Jim Jones, Idi Amin, Osama bin Laden, David Koresh, and many other con-men from A to Z. Likewise, there are many who have used great charisma to do great things, like Jacqueline Kennedy, Charles de Gaulle, Princess Diana of Wales, Michael Jordan, and Jimmy Carter. A lot of decisions made by followers of charismatic leaders have been described as a short circuit of reality. A loss of understanding in the why and entire focus on the how and what needs to be done. Simply performed because of an attraction to the charisma of a leader. It’s very dangerous. Very volatile.

    • I personally dislike the leaders that think just because I have the title of power or rank that I am better than you. I tend to think that people will rebel against you in todays society and workplace. Granted people will still have a job to complete but I believe its going to make your job as a supervisor much more difficult.

      • I agree about not liking a boss that lets power go to their head. You’re right, the people will not respect this boss and are itching to see his demise. We are in a cut throat society and we work in a cut throat profession. There is no love lost when someone loses their position. The next guy is waiting to jump into his spot.

      • I would have to agree, supervisors who believe that they are better than everyone else because of their rank are viewed as arrogant and most subordinates aren’t going to want to follow that individual unless they believe it will help them climb the ranks too. These are the supervisor who show the subordinates how not to act, they are not going to gain any additional knowledge from this supervisor because they are shutting down all interactions that they can and only doing what they have to to complete their job duties. Subordinates are not going to go out of their way to help this supervisor.

    • I agree with you. Your subordinates may do as you say but morale will suffer and with it so will Productivity. I also believe that acting only in an authoritative capacity will severely limit you careers growth.

  • While discussing power in this module, it was a good reminder that you only have as much influence as others think you to have, regardless of your position in the organization. I’ve seen a number of newly promoted supervisors run into issues when they immediately begin barking orders and making changes before taking time to build relationships and trust with their subordinates.

    This has led to stress and difficulties between leader and follower, and shows the importance for new leaders to keep their egos in check.

    In the previous module, Michael Abrashoff demonstrated these concepts exceptionally well through the illustrations in his book, It’s Your Ship. He took the time to meet individually with each member of his crew, communicated clearly and often, and did more listening than talking. I think this is a recipe for success for any new supervisor.

    • I would have to agree to some extent. The point your making about those that may be new to leadership can have a strong mindset that they may have use their position of power to regulate activities in order to get the job done. They base their style of leadership on the coercive style of leadership instead of remembering where they started and using that skillset to have more of a referent style leadership. Having your subordinates getting the job done or specific tasks completed because they know its what you would do or how you would want something done, is as important than giving step-by-step instructions.

    • I would have to agree with you that when a supervisor comes into a new unit or area one of the first things need to do is learn the area of operations before coming in a barking orders and changing things. Having a good understanding of how things are done and why they are done that way will help the supervisor make an informed decision on what procedures need to be changed and prioritize those changes. It is also important for the staff to know the new supervisor’s expectations immediately so they understand what is required of them and what is the plans for the unit. Building a team relationship to include the supervisor is the best way to have a cohesive team.

    • I would agree this is a common failure of a new leader. The subordinates really do have a lot of power and can make a supervisor’s life hell if you’re not working well as a team. I agree it’s important to take the time to build trust and earn respect when taking over a new supervisory position. It’s also important to truly learn your people (from a supervisors perspective and personally), the work being done, and the policies/procedures in place before making judgement on any shortcomings or failures. No one wants someone to walk in the door and say you’re failing and the entire department is a mess. While there are times it might be true, it’s functioning to some extent. And while changes need to be made, without the knowledge on the entire issue, it’s hard to make the correct choices that will have the best impact and outcome. You will help get the whole picture by connecting with your subordinates and learning the real issues from their perspective. Without credibility, influence, and respect, you will fail as a supervisor.

  • I am a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPAC) evaluator and am testing the system.

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