For the uninformed, military leadership is all about giving orders and expecting instant obedience.
Followers of this mental model believe if there is any hesitation in compliance from Soldiers, they will
inevitably be punished or even thrown in the brig.â€– This was best epitomized in a discussion I had
when assigned to NATO with Dr. Michel Liu, a noted sociologist and professor at Paris-Dauphine
University. He felt leadership in the military was all about enforcing compliance, and no need existed for
more advanced influencing skills. It was his opinion that military leaders merely relied on rank, position,
service rules, and regulations to get things done, and military leadership was really a myth! We wish it
was only that simple.
Military leaders are responsible for achieving any and all assigned missions. That is the expected
result or outcome of their leadership. They can do this through either commitment or compliance-focused
influence. Compliance-focused is directed at follower behavior. It is generally effective for gaining
short-term and immediate results. It also works well in time-constrained environments with basic tasks
that require a specific action or behavior, and there is little need for follower understanding.
Noted leadership researcher Peter Senge
believes ninety percent of the time what
passes for employee commitment is really
According to Senge, there
are various levels of compliance ranging
from genuine compliance to
noncompliance. In genuine compliance the
followers do what is expected and are
considered good employees. During
routine operations, genuine compliance
may be all that is required to successfully
accomplish the mission. In grudging
compliance employees make only
minimum effort and their heart is really not
in it. They only do the least amount of
work because they have no personal
ownership or buy-in. They are really not convinced the leaderâ€™s decision or action is the best one, that it
will be effective, or that it is even worth doing in the first place.2 They also have no problem letting others
know they are not on board.
Long-term and lasting change requires a different focus. Leaders must move beyond complianceprompted behavioral changes and focus on influencing follower attitudes, beliefs, and values in order to
gain commitment. Commitment implies the followers want the organization to succeed and positive
changes to occur. Committed followers make a decision to take personal ownership of mission tasks,
have internal buy-in to the leaderâ€™s decisions and orders, and proactively dedicate themselves to mission
accomplishment. They feel a shared responsibility for the successful completion of the task at hand. It
could be said that both their mind and heart are really in it.â€– The critical point is that the commitment is
self-initiated. It is a cognitive, thought-based process. The leader can create an environment that
promotes and encourages follower commitment but the bottom line is that the individual must make a
personal, internal, thought-out decision to fully sign on to the mission.
A historical example of the contrast between follower commitment and compliance can be taken from
the experience of Major General George Armstrong Custer. During the American Civil War, Custer had
the total commitment of the highly motivated volunteers he commanded in the 3rd Michigan Cavalry
Compliance vs. Commitment
Compliance: Conforming to a specific requirement or demand
Commitment: Dedication or allegiance to a cause or organization
– FM 6-22
Division. He was convinced he could accomplish any mission with these troops, and had a proven track
record of success during the war. This was quite different from the troopers he later commanded in the 7th
Cavalry Regiment during the American Indian Wars. These Soldiers were generally from the lower
elements of society and some were even former criminals. Many were immigrants who could barely
speak English or even ride a horse. They had joined the Army simply to have a job. Custer was
constantly frustrated with them and, to gain their compliance, reverted to extremely harsh disciplinary
measures to include executions. This lack of commitment in his Soldiers impacted their level of
competence and was one of many factors that contributed to Custerâ€™s devastating defeat at the Little
The challenge for the organizational-level leader is gaining this commitment from subordinate leaders
and followers for the health and future of the organization. How do they do it? It all begins with power.
A core tool or means the leader can leverage to gain follower commitment is the power available to
them. We define power as the capacity to influence others and implement change. It is not the actual
influencing action. Influencing is the application of power. Without power, there is little influencing;
and with no influencing, there is no opportunity to gain genuine compliance or commitment from others.
The practical question must then be
asked, What are the sources of a leaderâ€™s
power?â€– According to Dr.â€™s Gary Yukl
and Cecelia M. Falbe, there are two
independent sources of power: position and
personal.3 The first is the authority that
comes from the position the leader is
filling. This gives them position or
positional power. With this form of power
comes the authority of the position.
Position power promotes follower
compliance. The second source of power
is personal power. This power comes from
the leaderâ€™s followers and is based on their
trust, admiration, and respect for the leader.
It is tied to the leaderâ€™s expertise and
personality. Personal power encourages and connects with follower commitment.
Position power is derived from a particular office or rank in a formal organization. According to
taxonomy of social psychologists John R.P. French and Bertram Raven, it can be divided into further
subcategories such as legitimate, reward, and coercive.
4 When this power is applied through the use of
appropriate influence techniques,* it can be very effective in changing the behavior of followers. In other
words, it is excellent in gaining compliance.
* ADRP 6-22, Army Leadership, uses the term influence techniques.â€– The majority of the professional leadership
community uses the term influence tacticsâ€– coined by University of Albany researcher and professor Dr. Gary
Yukl. I use both terms interchangeably in this article.
The capacity an individual has to influence
the attitude or behavior of others
Legitimate power comes from the leaderâ€™s formal or official authority. Individuals with legitimate
power influence others through orders and requests that are consistent and appropriate with their position.
In the exercise of legitimate power, the followers respond because they believe the leader has the right to
make requests or give orders, and they have an obligation to comply.
Command is a form of legitimate power. According to ADRP 6-22, Army Leadership, â€œcommand is the
authority a commander in the military service lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or
It grants military leaders both the right and obligation to make decisions, give orders, and
exercise control of resources such as budgets, equipment, vehicles and other assigned materials.
Trappings of legitimate power may include office size and layout; professional assistants, drivers; and
aides; uniform insignia and accouterments; and so on.
Reward power involves the capacity of leaders to use highly desired resources to influence and
motivate their followers. These include promotions; selection for special duties, activities, or privileges;
“be stâ€– competitions; medals; letters of appreciation or commendation; and so on. On a lesser but still
significant scale, the reward could be public or private verbal praise, a thank you note, time off, an
intercession on anotherâ€™s behalf, or a simple recognition by handshake or personal acknowledgment.
When soldiers realize their leaders in the chain of command know who they are, it can be highly
motivational. In reality, the rewards leaders generate for followers are limited only by their creativity and
Coercive power is the opposite of reward power. Whereas reward power offers something positive
and desirable, coercive power presents something negative and undesirable. As the old quote says, I tis
the difference between gain and pain.â€– Coercive power is the capacity to influence others through
administering negative sanctions such as punishments, removal of privileges, fear tactics, public
embarrassment, or being placed in a bad light among oneâ€™s peers. Coercive power has been traditionally
associated with the military and stereotypical toxic military leaders. Countless movies have been made
depicting military leaders of all ranks and particularly drill sergeants using coercive power tactics.
American General Joseph Vinegar Joeâ€– Stilwell commanded in the China-Burma-India Theater in
World War II and was known for his demanding nature and caustic remarks. He excelled in the use of
coercive power tactics. One of his British brigade commanders, John Masters, recalled Stilwell
specifically detailing a staff officer to visit subordinate commands to chastise their officers for being
y ellow.â€– 6 Obviously there was some truth to the nickname Vinegar Joe.
Coercive power has serious limitations and disadvantages. It may bring temporary compliance but
undermines long-term commitment. It could result in passive-aggressive behavior, retaliation, and formal
complaints against the chain of command leading to disciplinary or relief actions.
An additional form of position power described by Yukl is information power. It includes access to
critical information, control over its dissemination, and the ability to act on that information. Based on
rank and position, organizational leaders routinely have access to information that subordinates do not.
Thus a leader who controls the flow of information has the opportunity to interpret events for
subordinates and influence both perceptions and attitudes.7 Leaders can present information anyway they
like and even distort it to their advantage. They may do this to cover up mistakes, bad decisions, or
potential failures. Information is also vital in crisis situations because it is essential to the emotional well
being of those being led. When information is not readily available, many followers will inevitably
M SUâ€– it mean make stuff up.â€– What they make up generally will be better than reality though the
consequences will be much worse.
In additional to positional power, leaders can also leverage personal power. Personal power is
derived from the followers based on their trust, admiration and respect for the leader. It is the power
given to the leader by the followers based on the leaderâ€™s personality or expertise. It can be subdivided
into two categories: expert power and referent power. When this power is applied through the use of
appropriate influencing techniques, it can be very effective in gaining commitment in others. This is
because it allows the leader to influence not just the followersâ€™ behavior but their thinking as well through
an appeal to personal attitudes, beliefs, and values. It is important to remember that followers can
withdraw this power just as easily as they give it. Whereas position power encourages follower
compliance, personal power promotes follower commitment with the use of proper influence tactics.
Expert power is based on the knowledge and expertise one has in relation to those being led. It is
being the subject matter expert or SME. The more knowledge, skills, talents, and proficiencies leaders
have, the more power they can leverage. Those selected for battalion command successfully served in
KD jobs such as a battalion XO or S3. These jobs should have provided the knowledge and expertise
essential for their success as a battalion commander. The challenge at the organizational level is that
there may be many individuals in a battalion possessing more expert power than the battalion commander.
This could include assigned warrant officers, various noncommissioned officers, and those whose
assignments have given them special knowledge or experiences. Part of leveraging expert power, is the
leaderâ€™s effective utilization of all available expert resources to accomplish the mission.
Post World War II research studies indicate that junior enlisted Soldiers had much more confidence in
their noncommissioned officers than in their commissioned officers, i.e. platoon leaders. Understandably,
this was because of the experience the NCOs possessed in comparison to the lieutenants, experience the
Soldiers felt would keep them alive.8 This was expert power in its highest form.
The second category of personal power is that of referent power. Leaders can offset a lack of expert
power by leveraging their referent power. Referent power refers to the strength of the professional
relationship and personal bond leaders develop with their followers.9 When followers admire leaders and
view them as role models or even friends, they imbue them with referent power. People will work hard
for such leaders simply because they want to look good in their eyes and not let them down. To put it
another way, referent power is the power generated by relationships the brick and mortar of solid
organizations. The stronger the relationship, the higher the probability things will get done and get done
well. Also, referent power has the highest potential of all the forms of power to gain a strong
commitment from the followers.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower had exceptional interpersonal skills. Despite the fact that he did not
deploy overseas in World War I, serve in combat, or command a unit larger than a battalion, he was
selected in 1942 by President Roosevelt and General Marshall to be the Commanding General, European
Theatre of Operations. This appointment was due as much to his relational skills as his professional or
administrative competencies. Eisenhower did not disappoint. Through his interpersonal and social skills,
he was able to gain the trust and confidence of both the allied and U.S. military and political leaders.
Though he had fundamental disagreements with Churchill and other allies, it did not seem to affect their
Influence is the application of power. Leaders can use their power to affect and change the behaviors,
values, attitudes, morale, and commitment level of those they lead. The research of Dr. Gary Yukl
indicated the application of the leaderâ€™s power comes principally through a variety of influence tactics
(influencing techniques).10 The type of influence tactics applied to a given situation depends on the
amount of power the leader has, the target group being influenced, the degree of resistance expected, and
the rationale behind the various influencing tactics.11 Influence tactics can be placed into three broad
categories: hard, soft, and rational tactics.12
Hard tactics are generally associated
with positional power and include
coalition, legitimate requests, and pressure.
They are very effective at gaining follower
compliance. They are generally used
when the leader is expecting significance
resistance, the leader or influencer has the
upper hand, or when the person being
influenced violates the protocols of
appropriate behavior with the leader.
x Coalition tactics are used when the
leader asks for the assistance or
support of others to influence the
target. It may include getting the endorsement of someone the target person likes, respects, or
views as an expert. Coalition tactics are routinely used in combination with one or more other
influence tactics such as rational persuasion, ingratiation, or apprising. It can also be described as
g anging up.â€– This tactic can make the target extremely uncomfortable.
x Legitimate requests or legitimizing tactics occur when the leader makes requests based on their
rank, position, or authority. The leader first establishes his or her authority as part of the request
process. It is generally used when the request is unusual, resistance is expected, or the target
person may not know who the leader is or what authority she has.13 This is a tactic that is best
used sparingly as it loses its impact and effectiveness if overused. Pu ll ing rankâ€– is a type of
x Pressure tactics include threats, warnings, relentless reminders, persistent demands, constant
checking, bothersome micromanagement, and other aggressive behaviors from the leader. These
tactics are generally used if the commitment of those being led is low and compliance is an
acceptable alternative. The problem with pressure tactics is that they have the tendency to
undermine relationships. They may be effective in the short term but generally have a negative
long-term effect. Pressure tactics are closely associated with the pre-volunteer military and also
Hollywoodâ€™s stereotype of military leaders. Experience has shown that, overall, pressure tactics
have very low effectiveness.
Soft tactics are associated with personal power and include ingratiation, personal appeal,
inspirational appeal, participation, relational, and building consultation. All are effective at gaining
follower commitment or at least placing the follower in a position where they are more willing than not to
commit to an action or change. Besides the focus of gaining commitment, they can be used when the
influencer is at somewhat of a disadvantage, when they expect minor resistance, or when they will
personally benefit if the influencing effort is a success.
x Ingratiation is an attempt by the leader to make those being influenced feel better about the
leader and the request he or she is about to make. Ingratiation is done by giving praise, acting
Influence: The Application of Power
Hard Rational Soft
– Legitimate requests
– Personal appeals
– Relationship building
– Rational persuasion
friendly, giving unexpected favors, or saying things to make those being influenced feel special or
be in a better mood. Sales representatives use ingratiation as one of their primary influencing
tactics. Another common phrase for ingratiation is s ucking up!â€– In a World War II period
cartoon by Bill Mauldin, infantryman Willie says to his buddy Joe, The Captain was acting real
friendly this morning. Guess that means weâ€™re moving back up to the [front] line again.â€– The
captainâ€™s action was a form of ingratiation. While the word ingratiationâ€– has a negative
connotation, it can be effectively used in moderation, for example, when meeting new people and
attempting to make a good first impression. If successfully employed, it will increase the referent
power of the user.
x Personal appeals are leader requests based on friendship, loyalty, or trust. It generally occurs
when the leader is faced with a difficult situation and mutual trust and confidence are essential to
their success. The leader would appeal to the follower by highlighting the special skills or talents
he or she has that would insure the task would be successfully accomplished. Personal appeals
are directly connected to referent power. Many times they are made when the task is not part of
the personâ€™s normal duties or responsibilities.
x Inspiration or inspirational appeals are designed to stir up the emotions and enthusiasm in
others to gain their commitment. It appeals to the target audience by connecting the request to a
personâ€™s values, needs, hopes, and ideals. Examples would be the commanderâ€™s speech before
the big battle or a coachâ€™s speech to the team before the big game. To effectively use this
influence tactic, the leader must clearly understand the hopes, dreams, and values of those being
influenced. Leaderâ€™s can use imagery, metaphors, and rousing animated gestures in the process
of the appeal. However, this must be consistent with how the leader is generally viewed. If it is
not, it will come across as phony and inauthentic and could have the reverse effect of what was
intended. During World War II, General Patton would routinely travel to his armyâ€™s subordinate
units and give rousing inspirational appeal speeches. This was realistically captured on film in
the 1970 academy award-winning movie Patton. In the movieâ€™s opening scene George C. Scott,
acting as Patton, gave a stirring inspirational speech that was in fact drawn from the Patton
x Consultation occurs when the leader asks another person how a mission should be accomplished,
a task carried out, or a difficult change implemented. This is done to leverage the expertise and
knowledge of the target person as well as gain a higher level of commitment for the project.
There are situations in which the leader already knows what he or she is going to do and
consultation is really a subtle form of manipulation. But this is not true in all cases. There are
times when the expert power of subordinates is needed to insure the plan is solid. An example of
this was in the movie, Saving Private Ryan. Prior to the filmâ€™s final battle, Captain John Miller
(Tom Hanks) asked Sergeant Mike Horvath (Tom Sizemore) what he thought they should do. It
was the only time in the movie when he called Sergeant Horvath by his first name. This is a
classic consultation technique.
x Participation occurs when the leader asks a follower to take part in a planning, brainstorming,
problem solving, consensus building, or decision making process. Unlike with the consultation
tactic, the follower does not have any unusual expertise on the topic. The participation generally
increases the followerâ€™s personal sense of value and worth to the organization. This recognition
is important in building follower commitment and increasing their ownership and buy-in. Since
the follower has participated in the planning or problem solving process, this tactic also enhances
the enabling and empowerment process.
x Relationship Building is a technique in which leaders build positive rapport and a relationship of
mutual trust, making followers more willing to support requests. Examples include showing
personal interest in a followerâ€™s well-being, offering praise, and understanding a followerâ€™s
perspective. This technique is best used over time. It is unrealistic to expect it can be applied
hastily when it has not been previously used. With time, this approach can be a consistently
effective way to gain commitment from followers.
Rational tactics are associated with both personal and positional power and include rational
persuasion, exchange, apprising, and collaboration. These tactics are generally used when the two parties
of are equal rank or power, when no resistance is expected, or when both the organization and the
influencer will benefit. These tactics initially appeal to compliance but can lead to commitment because
they typically generate short-term wins that can, if consistently applied, sway the attitudes and beliefs of
the followers or targets.
x Rational persuasion is the most common and one of the most effective influencing techniques.
It commonly uses logical arguments, facts, details, specific evidence, data, and various forms of
proof to convince the target audience. Rational persuasion is commonly used by lawyers in legal
arguments. It focuses on oneâ€™s reason, rationale thought, and common sense. It is perhaps the
most difficult to counter and can also be effectively used by subordinates when attempting to
influence their leaders. At the Pacific Strategy Conference in Hawaii in July of 1944, General
Douglas MacArthur masterfully used rational persuasion to influence President Franklin
Roosevelt regarding the strategic way ahead in the Pacific War. With Admiral Chester Nimitz
present, MacArthur skillfully outlined to the President why liberating the Philippines made more
sense than the navyâ€™s recommended strategy of bypassing those islands and advancing on
Formosa. Roosevelt decided in favor of MacArthurâ€™s strategic approach, which was somewhat
surprising since he was a strong advocate of the navy, sea power, and had previously been
Secretary of the Navy. Such was the strength of General MacArthurâ€™s rational persuasion.
x Exchange or quid pro quo is a very common influence tactic. The leader knows the subordinate
wants or desires something that is highly valued by them. As a result the leader will give them
what they want if the subordinate will comply with a request from the leader. This tactic will
only work if what the subordinate is promised is of value to them, and they believe the leader
doing the promising can and will follow through. Exchange is quite common in politics. One
elected official will vote for a law if they are promised something in value by another
representative in return for their vote. Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, R-Kansas, a thrice
decorated World War II 10th Mountain Division veteran, was a master of this tactic during his
twenty-seven years in the Senate.
x Apprising occurs when the leader tells the target how complying with his or her request will
benefit the target personally or professionally or both. Not unlike rational persuasion, this often
involves logic and facts. In apprising, the person being influenced will receive a certain benefit
by doing what the leader is requesting. It is not, however, something the leader will provide.
That is just the opposite of exchange tactics in which the person being influenced is being
provided something by the leader. The benefits of apprising may include increased opportunities
for advancement, greater visibility to influential people, highly desired skill training, the selection
for special duties, activities, or privileges, and the like.
x Collaboration occurs in situation in which the leader offers the resources, equipment, or
assistance that will be needed to successfully complete a request. This would be resources that
the person being tasked may not have. In collaboration there is a joint effort by both the leader
and the target to accomplish a mission or task. An example in an operational environment would
be the senior commander offering additional artillery, air, or armor resources to the subordinate
commander in the support of a very tough offensive action.
Given the forms of power a leader possesses, positional and/or personal, how does the leader know
what influencing techniques to use? What happens if a leader with positional power but no personal
power attempts to use a soft influencing technique? Probably not very much will happen. Imagine a boss
you dislike or do not respect attempts to influence you through an inspirational speech or a personal
appeal. You would probably find the actions somewhat offensive and quickly identify the insincerity.
If a leader who has personal power uses a hard influencing technique, it might not be well received by
the followers. It will seem out of place and the followers will probably ask, W hatâ€™s wrong with the boss
today? He must have had a fight with his wife!â€– Many leaders will avoid using hard tactics in fear of
jeopardizing the referent power they already have with their followers.
Some leaders have various forms of power but do not have the will to use them. This is generally
because of a lack of moral courage. Some leaders apply the correct tactic to the correct form of power
but, because it is done so ineffectively, no one is influenced. Then there are other leaders who do not
understand either power or influence and therefore do not properly leverage any of these leadership tools
available to them.
How can the leader insure that the
appropriate form of power and influence
tactics are used in a given situation? It is
through the use of emotional intelligence
or EQ skills. Emotional intelligence is the
ability or skill to identify, assess, manage,
and control the emotions of oneâ€™s self, of
others, and of groups.14
According to EQ researcher and
leadership writer, Dr. Daniel Goleman, EQ
has four components: self-awareness, selfmanagement, social awareness, and social
skills. The first two components deal exclusively with the leader. Self-aware leaders can read and
understand their emotions. They understand how their emotions impact their work performance and
relationships. They have an accurate self-assessment of themselves to include strengths and weaknesses.
Self-management means they can control their emotions and manage their behavior, even under stressful,
The last two components of EQ have specific application to the use of power and influence. Social
awareness is the sensing of emotions, perspectives, and needs in others, both at the individual and
organizational level. It is the Army leadership attribute of empathy. By recognizing and understanding
the emotions in others, leaders have clear signals and indicators of the values, beliefs, and attitudes that
drive behavior and actions in an organization. By understanding these signs and indicators, leaders can
select the appropriate influence tactics commensurate with the situation and their individual power.
EQ stands for emotional quotient. Dr. Daniel Goleman uses the acronym as an antithesis to the more traditional
measure of intelligence, IQ â€“ intelligence quotient.
â€¢ Self-Awareness: Knowing oneâ€™s
â€¢ Self-Management: Managing oneâ€™s
â€¢ Social Awareness: Recognizing
emotions in others
â€¢ Social Skill: Handling relationships
The application of
Social skill, the fourth component of EQ, is the application of the appropriate influence tactics and relies
heavily on the Army leadership competency of â€•communicates,â€– which involves the clear articulation of
ideas, active listening, and the ability to recognize and resolve misunderstandings.
To put it simply, EQ is a clear enabler to the proper selection and application of influence tactics. An
excellent example of EQ failure is provided by one of the Armyâ€™s most famous generals, General George
S. Patton, Jr. General Patton was rated by the Germans as the best allied general in the European Theatre
of Operations in WWII. He was, however, seriously lacking in EQ skills as evidenced by his slapping of
two soldiers suffering from PTSD during the 1943 campaign in Sicily. As a result, from 3 August 1943
until 1 August 1944 General Patton was effectively on the sidelines while the greatest war in history was
being waged without his active participation. This war was something he had prepared for his entire life.
His lack of emotional intelligence skills also eliminated his involvement in the Normandy invasion and
selection for command of an army group.
Emotional intelligence is a skill set that can be learned and mastered. Leaders can improve their EQ
skills in a number of ways. They can observe and imitate emotionally intelligent role models (as well as
learn from the emotionally inept); seek and obtain feedback on their EQ skills from superiors, peers, and
subordinates; take any number of personality assessment instruments focusing on EQ; read any of the
countless offerings of commercial books available on the subject; or attend an EQ workshop or seminar.
The application of influence tactics is
also demonstrated through oneâ€™s leadership
style. While the Army doctrinally does
not advocate specific leadership styles, six
of the most recognized styles were
discussed by Dr. Goleman in his emotional
intelligence research.15 The coercive and
pacesetting styles are effective at gaining
short-term follower compliance but
generally have negative long-term
consequences. The coercive style demands
immediate compliance and can be
described by the phrase, Do w hat I tell
you!â€– It is a toxic, disrespectful, and
bullying style that almost always results in
low follower morale and productivity. The pacesetting style on the other hand sets very high standards of
performance. It is the Do as I do and do it nowâ€– style. It is characterized by a leader who is a
workaholic, role models high standards, wants everything to be better and faster, and promptly replaces
those who do not measure up. Pacesetting leaders expect followers to know what to do and, if they need
to be told what to do, they are the wrong fit for the job. Pacesetters usually believe follower development
is a waste of time and resources. Legitimate requests and pressure are common influencing tactics
employed by these two leadership styles.
Dr. Goleman believes the other four leadership styles are much more effective at achieving a positive
climate, high levels of performance, and deeper follower commitment. Probably the most effective of the
four is the authoritative style. The authoritative (not authoritarian) style mobilizes people toward a
common vision and says, Come with me.â€– The leader enthusiastically works to get people on board with
the vision. The leaderâ€™s focus is follower ownership and buy-in of the vision. It is a style that is noted for
very effective communication skills. Next, the affiliative leader says, People come first.â€– It is a style
Authoritative: Mobilizes people toward a vision
â€œCome with meâ€
Affiliative: Creates harmony and builds emotional bonds
â€œPeople come firstâ€
Democratic: Forges consensus through participation
â€œWhat do you think?â€
Coaching: Develops people for the future
Pacesetting: Sets high standards for performance
â€œDo as I do, nowâ€
Coercive: Demand immediate compliance
â€œDo what I tell youâ€
* From Leadership That Gets Results, by Daniel Goleman, Harvard Business Review, Mar-Apr 00
that creates harmony, emotional bonds, trust, honesty, and teamwork. Followers are given the freedom to
do their jobs and flexibility is always enhanced by this style. Then there is the democratic style. It builds
consensus through participation and asks, What do you think?â€– The democratic style is noted for open
dialogue, effective listening, and collective decision making. There are also high levels of follower
frustration resulting from this style because of endless meetings and the time required to arrive at a final
decision. Finally, the coaching leadership style develops people for the future and is characterized by the
phrase, Try this.â€– It focuses more on personal development than immediate work related tasks. It is the
least used style because leaders indicate they do not have the time to engage in the slow process of
helping followers grow. Soft influencing tactics such as participation, consultation, personal appeals, and
relationship building are the hallmark of these four styles.
Many field grade officers do not put a lot of thought into their style of leadership beyond the
traditional military maxim of c ome in hardâ€– when entering a new organization. The point of the
Goleman styles is not that one is better than another, but that they all have a purpose and an associated
methodology that can prove very effective when aligned with the leadersâ€™ sources of power, selection of
appropriate influencing techniques, and application of those techniques through the use of EQ skills.
When considering your style as a leader, you must analyze it from this broader perspective to ensure you
have properly aligned all the components of power and influence to support your actions and behavior. If
not, the consequential misalignment will achieve results you probably never wanted or expected.
We have seen that military leadership
is much more complex than simply giving
orders and expecting instant compliance.
Leaders have a variety of tools to utilize in
the pursuit of successful mission
accomplishment. They can use position
power to gain compliance or personal
power to gain commitment. Various
influence tactics support the use of either
position or personal power. These tactics
can be categorized as being hard, soft, or
rational. The leadersâ€™ emotional
intelligence skills help determine which
category of tactic would be most
appropriate to use in a given situation.
The application of influence tactics is also demonstrated through oneâ€™s leadership style.
Gaining commitment from followers, especially the key leaders, is the ultimate prize of
organizational-level leadership. It anchors the organizational culture, creates a positive command
climate, forms the foundation of a learning organization, and ensures a unity of effort for achieving the
most challenging of missions. Position power is important for accomplishing this but personal power is
essential. An organizational-level leader cannot be an expert in all fields because of the complexity of the
position, meaning the primary source of personal power available to the organizational-level leader is
referent power. This is why Goleman puts so much emphasis on the importance of the authoritative
leadership style. It rallies followers to a shared vision and creates a bond between leader and follower.
The bond is strengthened by the use of rational and soft influence tactics that solidifies the cohesion and
unity of the organization. On paper, this sounds easy; in practice, it is incredibly hard. But it is a worthy
objective that all field grade officers should strive for as they face the intricate challenge of aligning the
components of power and influence within an organization.
The Integration of Power and Influence
Hard Rational Soft
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2 Yukl, Gary. Leadership in Organizations, Sixth Ed. (Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2006),
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