What Is Leading in Management? (Plus Tips for Leaders)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Leadership and management are closely related concepts. There are many ways to lead a team, though some strategies are typically more effective for long-term productivity and success. Learning how to lead your team effectively can make a difference in the success of any organisation. In this article, we discuss the definition of leading in management, describe the sources of power and how they relate to leadership and provide tips to improve your leadership abilities.

Related: 12 Leadership Examples For the Workplace

What is leading in management?

Leading in management is typically taking control of a team to provide direction and make decisions that help achieve the goals they have set. It can involve motivating, inspiring and empowering those around you to follow your lead. Leaders can be essential for the good of all members within an organisation that they manage.

How do sources of power relate to leadership?

Sources of power are factors that influence the relationships between leaders and employees. There are many different sources of power which include coercive, reward, legitimate, expertise and charisma. Leaders can use these five different sources of power to lead others effectively without using their power to benefit themselves.

Related: Leader vs. Mentor (Definition and Key Differences)

5 sources of power

Here are descriptions of each source of power with a list of benefits for each:

1. Coercive power

Coercive power refers to the use of force or demands to influence others. If used correctly, coercive power can lead to greater organisational performance and better results for employees and employers. Here are some benefits of coercive power when used correctly:

  • improving overall team productivity due to fear of consequences

  • inspiring teams to become increasingly creative to achieve positive results

Related: Leader vs Boss: Definitions, Differences and Workplace Tips

2. Reward power

Reward power is the opportunity for material gains or benefits to influence others. Reward power is important because it provides motivation, recognition and feedback to leaders and a team.

One example of reward power may be a company that gives bonuses to reward their employees for a successful year. This is an effective use of reward power because it motivates team members to achieve better results than the previous year. Here are some potential benefits of reward power when used ethically:

  • increases encouragement of good performance from employees and managers alike

  • improves employee morale and job satisfaction

  • improves overall team productivity due to the potential for monetary compensation

  • creates high-performance teams by allowing for retention and advancement

3. Legitimate power

Legitimate power is an organisation's ability to influence others through the legitimisation of authority, such as having titles, positions or organisational skills. Legitimacy is typically important because it creates trust and makes people want to follow a leader's directions or suggestions.

An example of legitimate power can be seen when a leader has the title of CEO which is the top position in most organisational hierarchies. They can be an effective source of influence because the leader can inspire others to listen and trust them due to their position within the organisation. Here are some benefits of legitimate power when used ethically:

  • improves overall team productivity due to increased trust in leaders by employees

  • inspires team members with high-performing skills to achieve great results

  • allows members in positions of power to receive recognition from their industry and peers

Related: Leader vs. Manager: Definition, Skills and Differences

4. Expertise power

Expertise power refers to political, social or economic ideas that provide people with a basis for making decisions or taking action based on their knowledge and skills. Expertise power typically puts a leader in an elevated position of knowledge compared with their team. This may increase the leader's responsibility in making decisions for their team and also increase their coaching and mentoring responsibilities.

An example of expertise power is a highly experienced scientist that leads a lab at a research university. This scientist may have several research papers published in well-established journals that allow their team to respect their decision-making abilities. Here are some benefits of expertise power when used ethically:

  • establishing a baseline of knowledge for advice and delegation

  • providing a mentor to less experienced team members

5. Charisma power

Charisma is the influence that is gained from charisma, attractiveness and confidence. Charisma can be a form of reward power because it provides team members with respect and admiration, but often relates to the social circle and group affiliation of a leader. It can be a source of power for a leader in a team by establishing strong bonds with team members that can last as long as they are influential.

An example of charismatic leadership may be the leader of a band who is famous for their success on stage. This leader inspires his team in ways that keep them motivated. Here are some benefits of charisma power:

  • allows for feelings of personal connection and friendship

  • improves employee engagement and networking

Related: Skills Leadership Theory: Definition, Uses, Pros and Cons

Tips for effective leadership in management

Here are some detailed tips you can use to improve your effectiveness in leading a team:

Establish and maintain a climate of mutual respect

Mutual respect is when all team members feel valued and accepted by other members while they're performing their job duties. A leader can achieve this through an equal balance of rewards, recognition and feedback. If a manager provides these things to their team, the team may have increased morale, motivation and productivity.

It's important for managers to communicate with every team member about their successes and any negative situations that may occur. Feedback doesn't always have to come from the top manager either; there are many ways leaders can show that they care about the well-being of their team, including regular one-on-one meetings, constant encouragement, and providing a healthy work-life balance for all employees.

Provide the necessary tools and information for all to achieve their goals

When leaders provide the tools and information that are necessary for all team members to succeed, the leader may increase their team's job satisfaction, engagement and productivity. It's important that managers make sure that every team member has the tools they require, like a computer with internet access and access to a printer. Other necessities may include technical training in computers, software, coding and other current tasks that are essential to work in their respective roles.

Provide positive reinforcement

Setting goals and personal qualities that all employees can strive to reach is another way to facilitate a team environment that is motivating for your team. You can do this by ensuring that all team members receive praise when they achieve what you expect of them.

One of the best ways for leaders to use their power for positive reinforcement is by making it clear what success looks like for each person in the team. Motivation can often happen when a leader makes a point of helping every member achieve their goal. Leaders can do this by praising individuals if they perform well or by rewarding them if they make an extra effort during one of their goals.

Establish a culture of trust

Leaders can establish trust through positive communication between themselves and team members. Communication is vital for transparency, trust and overall success. This may come from leaders talking about their own experiences and sharing their own successes with the team. By communicating their own values, beliefs, and goals to the team, leaders can use these as a guideline for everyone to help reach common goals.

Setting boundaries with clear consequences that are fair but consistent encourages bonding among members while establishing a climate of trust. This may include procedures on issues such as attendance, punctuality and being prepared for meetings.

Use your power ethically

It's important that leaders use their power ethically when they lead their teams. This may include being aware of potential problems between any personal relationships with other team members and maintaining relationships with others outside of the work setting. There are many ways that a leader without authority can be ethically influential, such as by displaying confidence, self-discipline and a strong sense of personal character.

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