First is the capacity or ability to direct

First of all, in order to analyse the dark side of something, in this case of power, it must be taken into account the understanding of the term “power” itself. Thus, it is convenient to start from what the dictionary says when we look at the word power : “it is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events”. Knowing now the general meaning of power, it is consequently important to understand  other two terms: Leadership and formal authority, because they are strongly related to the first one. Unfortunately, there is not a clear and unanimous definition of leadership. Therefore, we can look at how some of the most respected business thinkers of our time define it: According to Peter Drucker, for example, “the only definition of a leader is someone who has followers”. However, this sentence seems to be too simplistic because it does not focus on the cases when someone is put at the guidance of a group of people (e.g. A new army captain is put at the command of 200 soldiers) but do not show any leadership and just gives orders to the group through a subordinate. The group of people will “follow” his volunteer and stay at his decisions, but he would not be a leader, maybe a commander, but nothing more. Another interesting and authoritative interpretation of this term comes from the famous founder of Microsoft corporation, Bill Gates. Once, he stated “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Similar to Gates’ one is also the idea that “leadership refers to the process of influencing others to pursue group goals” (Bass, 2008; Hogg, 2001; Stogdill, 1950). The last notion that it is worth it to mention is John Maxwell’s quote: “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less” .This last one, even if really short and simple, seems to be the most effective because relate the leadership to the influence and influence represents the informal aspect of power. The second term, instead, is easier to define. In fact, formal authority refers to the holding of a specific role or office associated with a social hierarchy. Then, it corresponds to the formal aspect of power. Moreover, there are different types of powers and they can be distinguished in two macro groups: Position power (legitimate, reward and coercive) and personal power (informational and referent), according to many studies personal power is the easiest to be accepted by the subordinates, lasts for a longer time and carries less risk to be lost by who holds it. Nevertheless, whatever is the source of power, formal or informal, or the type of power, it can be used by the focal actor as an effective tool in coordinating and promoting harmonious relationships, solving conflicts, and, therefore, enhancing the performance of the whole network as well as its individual members. This is what it called “the bright side of power”. 

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