Kate feels powerless because her subordinates are unsupported, she has only modest control over pay or benefits for them, and she has little discretion over an extremely rule-bound position. My advice to Kate is that she can become a great leader, but first she must develop her own emotional intelligence. Once she has mastered her own emotional intelligence, she will be able to use her power to influence others.
To become an effective supervisor, Kate should develop her own emotional intelligence. The key for developing her emotional intelligence is to strive for competency in: self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Self-awareness is the core of social and emotional intelligence and during this process Kate needs to ask herself about her feelings, values, and why she doesn’t see herself as powerful. As she reflects on her values and ethics, she will begin strengthening her social and emotional intelligence. She will be open to the opinions of others; she will act rationally, treat others with compassion and sensitivity. She will become an effective leader and use her power to influence others.
As an effective leader, Kate will learn how to use her power to “manage up” or “manage down.” When Kate felt powerless, she acted out by isolating her subordinates from upper management, withheld information from them, and became very rigid. Her unprofessional manner backfired and her subordinates became more resentful and less productive. There are five types of personal power sources: reward, coercive, expert, referent, and effort. Coercive power doesn’t work but only in the short term. Effort and reward power might get your subordinates to follow but they won’t be committed. Kate will flourish as a leader if she uses referent or expert power as her subordinates will typically follow her and be committed as she uses reciprocity to transform her power into influence.