Article (February-2018)


Interplay of power and leadership

Moitrayee Das

Designation : -   Ph.D student

Organization : -  Tata institute Of Social Sciences, Mumbai


10000+ View        

We stay in an era where people want to be powerful but still don't want to be associated with power, as power is associated with politics and politics is perceived as a "bad thing" in today's world. One of the main reasons being, people in politics are seen as people with power and they are not viewed positively by others. The same story also goes with large organizations which are just like governments and they are the fundamental entities, where power play is widely seen. It's important to understand how power politics plays its role in the organizations and influences the employees towards different behaviors. The interplay of power and leadership is a critical and an interesting aspect in the organizational setting. It is clearly understood that viewing politics as power has blinded us to the role of power in politics and hence to the pivotal role of leadership. Failure to view or understand that power and leadership are not two different things but are bound together as relationship is one of the major problems in the understanding leadership in its totality.
Scholarly writings indicate that leadership is not understood in its true sense and it's actually misunderstood to a great extent. Leaders are also misunderstood as people with higher social status or popular personalities. Leadership is understood by many at the superficial level and the crux or the essence of the meaning is lost, somewhere in trying to understand who is and who is not a leader.
The main ideas that come to the limelight through the academic articles are the two types of leadership, transformational and transactional. The concept of transformational leadership explains to us how the leader helps the follower realize their potential by helping them identify their inner talent and creativity. Transformational leadership is important to help develop a healthy leader - follower relationship form of leadership helps and gives a chance for the followers to be leaders.
According to me, transformational leadership is what is needed in today's times because the need of the hour is not just filling positions in the organizations with talented people but also making sure that there is another set of competent people ready to take their position when needed. This would be possible when the leaders would cooperate with their followers and help them develop their skills and talents. Transformational leaders change their organizational culture by first understanding it and then realigning the organizations culture with a new vision and a revision of its shared assumptions, values and norms (Bass, 1985). Since transformational leadership focuses on the long terms goals of the collective group (Bass 1985) and also sacrifices their personal interests if there is any, this form of leadership also leads to Corporate Social Responsibility.
There are many studies that are being done in the field of leadership, however there are many uncovered areas too which needs to be looked at to understand leadership from a new perspective and thus another area that could be looked up in the field of transformational leadership would be in terms of organizational citizenship behaviour.