The Ideas2Action (I2A) project is a Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) initiative aimed at achieving its goal of “ideas into action.”

The purpose of the project is to provide our participants and clients with research that is timely and relevant to current challenges. The research questions are also designed to aid in continuously updating CCL program content and providing knowledge that is compelling to our participant groups. The purpose of this research is to understand how leaders use power, to learn about the situations in which power is exerted and to describe how individuals and organizations can improve their leadership through the effective use of power.

The major findings of this research included:

  1. Most leaders surveyed (94 percent) rated themselves as being moderately to extremely powerful at work. There is a notable correlation between leaders’ level in the organization and how powerful they believe themselves to be at work.
  2. 28 percent of the leaders surveyed agree that power is misused by top leaders in their organization.
  3. 59 percent of the leaders surveyed agree that their organization empowers people at all levels.
  4. 41 percent of the leaders surveyed indicate that they would feel more powerful at work if they had more formal authority.
  5. The top three most frequently leveraged sources of power are: the power of expertise, the power of information and the power of relationships. The power of punishment, or the ability to sanction individuals for failure to conform to standards or expectations, is the least-leveraged source of power.
  6. The three sources of power leaders believe will be most important to leverage in the next five years are the power of relationships, the power of information, and the power to reward others.
  7. The power of relationships is most often used to promote one’s own personal agenda.
  8. Leaders suggest that the power of relationships can be better leveraged by identifying desired relationships, investing in those relationships, and repairing damaged relationships.

Additional Contributing Authors:

Vidula Bal is a former senior enterprise associate with the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, CO. Currently, she facilitates a variety of programs including the Leadership Development Program, the Looking Glass Experience, and Leadership and High-Performance Teams. She also serves in a lead faculty role on custom client engagements. When she is not in the classroom, she conducts research on a variety of topics including power, the stress of leadership, and team effectiveness. Vidula holds a doctorate in Communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

Judith Steed is a former Research Associate and Executive Coach at the Center for Creative Leadership. Judith seeks to identify and measure the sustainable business impact of executive development programs. She leverages both research and evaluation to better understand and strengthen program designs in service of improved personal and organizational leadership. She is particularly interested in the connection between personal transformation and professional productivity.

Kyle Meddings is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs studying Management and Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management as well as Leadership Studies. He is also a fourth year scholar in the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. Kyle served as an intern at the Center for Creative Leadership working with the Ideas2Action project team.

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