Influence is what drives an individual or a group of individuals to change views or behaviors towards a given idea, object, or activity. For an individual, it is the act of the outside forces that changes the individuals’ perception or thought process. These forces may include the ideas of other people especially those in a position of power. In a group, influence may come from the fellow group members especially if there is group conformity. The influence a leader has over his followers is called power and it helps the leader to influence the followers so that they do what they could otherwise not do and as a result, control their behaviors (Leadership Power, 2010). However, power should not be seen as only resting on one individual leader. According to (Losh, 2009), “power is relational as well as positional and it is intertwined with status.” Behavior can be influenced through manipulation or inspiration where manipulations are simple and effective for a given short period (Sinek, 2009). Indeed, the success of the influence process depends on the personality of the leader and that of the followers among other factors. This paper will discuss the various influence processes as well as the factors that affect them.
The influence process is the act of changing peoples’ ideas, perceptions, and general opinions about an object or idea. It is the holistic process from the inception to the conclusion of the change process. Different kinds of changes in different areas and among varied groups of people require different types of processes suitable to the given areas to implement them.
Since different organizations have different cultures and employees, different methods of influencing them are employed. The process used may be different from one company to another or from department to department within the organization. These processes may be tailored to fit into the culture of the organization or maybe shaped to the leaders’ standards. Moreover, the processes used to affect the way the leaders interact with everyone else in the organization, for instance, between the leaders and the followers, leaders and their superiors, and also between the leaders themselves. The cohesive group may be the easiest or the hardest to influence. This is because the individuals in the group may use the group’s power to accept or reject the influence.
The processes used to influence the followers can be classified as aiming to achieve one or both of these two outcomes: conformity or compliance. When people accept behaviors because they want to, they are said to have confirmed. They view the influence as being meaningful.
On the other hand, for people to comply there must be an external force necessitating the compliance. Rules and regulations on rewards and punishments may be used as a source of influence to effect changes in an organization. This is where the rules and regulations are structured to enforce or stop certain actions or reactions among the employees within a given group of people and bring about compliance. (Losh, 2009)
Six processes help the leaders in determining and shaping the way forward for the organizations. The first process is direct decisions where the leaders can effectively map the direction their followers are going to take through the use of a direct approach in decision making. This is through the power the leaders have to oversee that the organization’s motto: vision and mission are achieved (Strayer, 2007). Mission and vision, therefore, dictate the culture and the nature of the relationship between the employees, employees, and the management and their relationship with their employers. The leaders are also well-positioned to influence the decisions affecting the implementation of the mission and the vision. This enables decide on the issues that they presume will affect the employees’ behavior in the way that will be most beneficial to the organization
The process of allocation of resources is also used by the leaders to influence the behavior hence the culture of the organization. Since the management has the last say in what goes where in terms of money, manpower, and machinery, the decisions made of how to distribute these resources play a role in determining the organizational structure of the organization. These resources may be pulled out of some projects, divisions, or departments and increased in others. This may be done according to the organizations’ priorities which are determined by the mission (Strayer, 2007).
The kind of reward system that the organization has in place can also be used to influence the employees. This can be in form of money or other incentives like vacations fully paid for by the employer as long as the employee does his work as was pre bargained.
Selection and promotion of other leaders are also used, whereby the organization looks for promising employees and puts them in a position of leadership. Those already in these positions may be promoted if they meet they meet the required qualifications. This, together with the monetary incentives, motivates the employees to strive for betterment to secure leadership positions. These are used to encourage specific behaviors (Strayer, 2007).
Being a role model for your employees influences changes on a greater scale in an organization. The leaders may decide to portray the kind of behavior they want the company to be associated with by participating in the behavior themselves. This will create the standards of what is acceptable in an organization. This may be in form of a dress code or business ethics.
These processes are dependent on many factors. These include the place the feelings of superiority by those appointed to the leadership positions. They, “……. distance between themselves and subordinates, credit themselves for the good performance of their subordinates, downplay the worth of their subordinates, and give themselves inflated evaluations to justify receiving disproportionate rewards” (Losh, 2009). This leads to friction between the leader and the employees hence lowering productivity.
In the cases of compliance, a follow-up mechanism should be put in place to reinforce the behavior leading to an increase in costs of running the business.
The table below explains how different leaders use particular influence processes in their roles.
|Influence method||Andrea Jung||Indra Nooyi||Brenda Barnes |
|Direct decisions||mission and values and purpose have been the way that |
We have effectively kept that sales force going. (Jung, 2009)
|Purpose and mission defines our roles and responsibilities very clearly(Nooyi, 2009)||Corporate culture towards teamwork and integrity. “As a leader, I need to instill the right culture and values that will stand the test of time.” She has led an effort to redefine the mission statement, which positions the company as one of innovative ideas and continuous improvement.” (Roustin, 2010)|
|Allocation of resources||Job security, women workforce, advertisement||Safety, plans on employees to grow professionally and share in our company’s success (Nooyi, 2009)||As a result Sara Lee has introduced Returnships, a career program for mid-career professionals re-entering the workforce after having been away for a number of years. (Roustin, 2010)|
|Reward system||Flexible working hours, feeling that you are part of the company||Health care benefits and wellness programs that enable our employees to live healthier lives. (Nooyi, 2009)||Participating in decision, benefits of re-entering the work force|
|Selectionand promotion of other leaders ||“The talent process at GE is second to none. |
I mean, from the training to the succession planning and the
Depth, I have brought so much back.
I am that much better leader” (Jung, 2009).
|“We remain committed to providing opportunities for our associates to acquire new skills, grow professionally and share in our company’s success” (Nooyi, 2009)||Listen to your employees. “You have to rely on your people. They have the answers. You can tap into them, and they can help you solve your problems.” (Roustin, 2010)|
|Role modeling||Encouraged the female workers to strive for betterment||Committed and professional||Returning to work after being away(Roustin, 2010)|
The process of influencing the employees should be adopted by all leaders because it is from this that the required standards of performance are ensured in an organization. Conformity is the better reason for accepting the influence because it is cheaper than compliance and the employees change because they see a need to and not because they are pressured to change. The leaders should act as role models to the employees.
Jung, A. (2009). Managing a Global Enterprise: Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon. Web.
Losh, S. C. (2009). EDP 5285 Group Processes. Web.
Leadership Power. (2010). Leadership Power: PowerPoint. Web.
Nooyi, I. (2009). Letter from Indra Nooyi. Web.
Roustin, J. (2010). Brenda Barnes Champions Women Returning to the Work Force. Web.
Sinek, S. (2009). Inspire People. Leadership Excellence, 26 (11), 13. Web.
Strayer R. (2007). Leadership and Influence Processes. Web.