Power and Influence: A Guide for Fire Officers

Issue 7 and Volume 160.

BY WILLIAM GOSWICK THE FOUNDATIONS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP LIE in the ways a manager uses power to influence the behavior of other people. Research recognizes that power is essential to executive success, but that power should not represent the desire to control for the sake of personal satisfaction. The objective should be to influence and control others for the good of the group or organization as a whole.1 Power, the ability to influence other people and events, is a leader’s stock-in-trade, the way leaders extend their influence over others.2 Leaders rely on influence tactics to leverage their sources of power.3 Probably the two most often confused terms in management are “power” and “authority.”4 Authority is the right to command or give orders; power is the extent to which an individual is able to influence others so that they respond to orders or requests. Leaders influence people to do things through…

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