Influence is defined as the force one person exerts on another person to induce a change in the targeted individual. Influencing can change a person’s behavior, attitude, goals, opinions, needs and values. Influence is a necessary part of leadership. It is concerned with how the leader affects followers. Influence is a necessary ingredient of leadership, without influence, leadership is non-existent. The influence dimension of leadership requires the leader to have an impact on the lives of those being led. To make a change in other people comes with an enormous amount of social and ethical burden.
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Various types of influence processes and the factors affecting them
Leaders use variety of influence process to alter the behavior of people. The influence process changes according to the demands of the situation. Influence processes refer to the five ways leaders shape organizational variables including people and resources. The five influence processes are direct decisions, allocation of resources, reward system, selection and promotion of other leaders and role modeling. Each will be discussed in detail in the following paragraphs:
Direct decisions: Direct decisions provide the leaders the ability to influence the choices of their followers. This ability to influence comes with the control leaders have in formulating mission and vision aspects of an organization. The most important aspect giving power to leader in the organizational structure is their ability to influence the variables affecting their followers through direct decisions. Leaders’ ability to make decisions influencing organizational structure give them the power to dictate decision making in the organization and set overall direction of the organization.
Allocation of resources: Leaders make use of their power over various organizational resources such as human, money and technological resources to significantly impact the way work is carried out in an organization. For example if a department is in serious need of funds a leader has the power to grant additional money to the department in addition to the portion allocated to the department in the annual budget.
Reward system: Leader can make use of their power to reward to influence the actions and behaviors of their employees. A leader can offer monetary incentive to followers in case the followers conform to certain behavioral standards and achieve goals necessary for meeting the overall organization objective.
Selection and promotion of other leaders: Leaders can also influence their followers by making use of their power to promote the leaders who meet individual as well as organizational goals and objectives.
Role modeling: Finally one of the most important ways leaders can mould the behavior and opinion of their followers is by acting as a role model. Followers always follow the path leader is taking. If a leader possesses high moral and ethical standard there are greater chances that their followers will also have high ethical and moral standards.
Analysis of the influence process used by Andrea Jung, Indra Nooyi, and Brenda Barnes
Influence processes used by Andrea Jung
Direct decisions: The CEO of Avon Corporation, Andrea Jung has taken numerous successful decisions that have changed the image of Avon in the beauty and cosmetics industry. She emphasized the importance of sales force saying that they were at the heart of Avon and that Avon’s future success depends on their efforts. She also strongly emphasized the importance of internet sales. Andrea Jung also worked to change Avon’s traditional focus from the 30-55 year old women to the younger 16-24 year old women citing the reason that this segment of around 17 million women has a purchasing power of over $100. She also eliminated seven layers of management and got rid of 25% of the senior staff.
Allocation of resources: Andrea Jung strongly favors allocation of huge budget for the Research and development function of her organization, believing that it has potential to give off higher benefits in return. Andrea Jung’s decision to invest heavily in R&D paid off when the company’s sales increased by 45% in 2004.
Reward system: Sales representatives making huge profits for the company are rewarded with paid holiday trips to eye-catching tourist attractions like Tenerife, Cyprus and Madeira.
Selection and promotion of other leaders: When Andrea Jung took over Avon Corporation there were no women past middle management. Today 85% of Avon’s top management team in U.S. being composed of females (Knowledge@Wharton, 2005).
Role modeling: Andrea Jung with her determination, courage and distinctive managerial style is a wonderful role model for coming generations of female leaders.
Influence processes used by Indra Nooyi
Direct decisions: At PepsiCo. Indra Nooyi has been credited with several key decisions that have positively enhanced the performance the company. Her decisions including the divestiture of fast food restaurants (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC), the acquisition of Tropicana and the merger with Quaker Oats provide remarkable examples to the sharp talents Indra Nooyi has in turning ideas and plans into realities.
Allocation of resources: Indra Nooyi redirected about one third of PepsiCo’s marketing budget this year towards social media campaigns and digital promotions including her “ReFresh Project” campaign. Indra Nooyi takes community building seriously and has undertaken a $20M grant program to help community building causes.
Reward system: Apart from monetary rewards, Indra Nooyi strongly believes in the importance of non-monetary rewards as well. She sends the spouses and parents of her company’s top performer’s personal hand written thank-you letters (Keller & Price, 2011).
Selection and promotion of other leaders: Indra Nooyi stresses the importance of developing future leaders so that when the top level leaders leave their jobs their absence is not felt (Keller & Price, 2011).
Role modeling: Indra Nooyi is a role model for millions of young girls back home in India. It is a signal to them that with extreme dedication and hard work they too can scale apparently unreachable heights.
Influence processes used by Brenda Barnes
Direct decisions: The CEO of Sara Lee has undertaken number of direct decisions during her tenure at the company. Her first major decision was to sell its non-core businesses to focus on the core business. She also decided to increase Sara Lee’s presence in the international market, because of this decision in 2008, 75% of the company’s operating income came from international (non-U.S.) market.
Allocation of resources: When Brenda Barnes first assumed the role of CEO of Sara Lee she took the decision to allocate $250m towards R&D and marketing in addition to the allocated amount in budget, she undertook the decision to boost the annual sales at least by 2% to 4%.
Reward system: At Sara Lee rewards are tied to employee’s performance on job. Employees are encouraged to buy company’s stock and naturally it gives provides them an incentive to perform exceedingly well on their jobs since it will translate into profits for them (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011).
Selection and promotion of other leaders: Brenda Barnes promoted leaders to higher echelons of the organization depending on their skills and performance level on job (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011).
Role modeling: Brenda Barnes is a great role model for women looking for finding a balance between career and home. She took a career break and left her job as the CEO of Sara Lee for looking after her children (Bulik, 2004).
Influence is the force a person exerts on another person to change their opinion or alter their behaviors. Leaders frequently use a combination of influence strategies. It is a well-known fact that people who use a wider variety of tactics are typically perceived as having greater power and influence. Leaders have to determine the method that is most likely to influence others by considering the individuals, groups, and situations involved.
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