BUS401 Study Guide

Unit 4: Leading Without Formal Authority

4a. Evaluate the primary methods used by leaders to exert power over their subordinates

  • There are several different forms of power: legitimate, referent, expert, reward, coercive, and informational. Which form of power do you most often wield at work and in your personal life?
  • Which power tactic do you use most often in a leadership role at home or work? How well does it work for you?

It is important to understand the type of power you have as a leader or manager because it affects how you apply it to get others to perform as they desire.

To review, see Sources of Power.


4b. Assess the methods used by leaders to exert influence over subordinates

  • Who are three organizational leaders you know? How do they display or exert their leadership in their respective communities, whether that is a team within a company or the wider community context for the business?
  • What companies are doing something productive for their communities?
  • Picture yourself as a retiring leader of a highly successful technology department within an organization. What advice or recommendations would you give to your successor?

Organizations themselves exert influence and leadership within their respective markets and community contexts. As a leader, the ability and talent for getting others to do what you expect or require of them can be a challenge and a skill in and of itself. Leaders and Managers need to understand the importance of collaboration, communication, and teamwork. There is a greater chance of organizational success when all involved believed their actions or efforts will lead to gains.

To review, see Nike Improving the Environment and Communities the Open Source Way and Advice from 5 Joomla Project Leaders.


4c. Analyze the role of "emotional intelligence" in leadership

  • Think about two experiences when you interacted with another person or an organization where conflict or tension had to be addressed. In either of those situations, did the person you interacted with have a high level of emotional intelligence?
  • Can you think of two instances where emotions had or did not have a positive effect that was based on emotional intelligence?

The ways we act, feel, or think all have some impact on our organization. We want to be positive and supportive leaders with the intent that those emotions will be reflected in our employees who, in turn, will inspire others (such as customers) to support the company or organization. Our emotional states transfer to those around us. We want to exhibit a high level of emotional intelligence to help us avoid issues or problems as we interact with other people or organizations.

To review, see Emotional Leadership and How Emotion and Mood Influence Behavior.


4d. Describe the key interpersonal skills in leadership

Each of us has our own unique personality, which means that leaders and managers have to get to a point where they understand how their employees think or feel to get the best performance from them that they can. We cannot stress enough how important it is to account for and properly utilize one's interpersonal skills. What you do, how you act, or how you express yourself could mean the difference between developing a successful employee and/or losing out on a potential successful employee.


4e. Evaluate the positive and negative elements of leadership without formal authority

  • Have you been in a situation where you were a leader or part of a team where you were given support to do your job?
  • Would you have preferred to have been managed more directly? Why or why not?

Bill Joy identified that an employee grouping often is more successful when they are left on their own with little boundaries or structure. The members know their roles, accept their responsibilities, and perform accordingly. Jim Whitehurst came to understand that, as a COO, it was necessary to give up the "advantages" he had held in a previous similar position. He found that being one of the team yielded greater results than if he had constantly reinforced the fact that he was the person in charge. The use of an "open organization" model has led to a situation where boundaries exist, but, as the leader, he still helps the members of the organization effectively do their jobs. He cites that his research is not conclusive, and as a leader attempting to interact with an established group, he still has a lot to learn. 

To review, see Should Open-Source Leaders Go Native? and Working with Individuals.