5 Sources Of Leadership Power

What Is Leadership Power?

This is the influence that a leader has over their followers. It is their ability to get others to support their vision. The ability of a leader to influence others is essential for their success.

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What Are The 5 Sources Of Leadership Power?

  1. Legitimate Power
  2. Expert Power
  3. Coercive Power
  4. Reverent Power
  5. Reward Power.

Legitimate Power

This is also known as positional power. It is the power a leader has due to their position in the company. They may have rights to delegate tasks to teams and team members and also to review the performance of individuals and teams and set targets.

This type of power often comes from their position in a company, their job description, or their position over others.

To be respected the leader must have the experience, expertise, and qualifications that the job requires.

Expert Power

Expert power comes from the knowledge and expertise that a person possesses. ‘Knowledge is power’ in today’s society and is sought after by organizations. This means that specialization can be very valuable to the right business. Expert power can often lead to promotion.

Coercive Power

This is used to threaten others. It may be used to enforce deadlines and punish employees who no not meet the expectations of the company.

Coercive powers use should be limited to only extreme situations where leaders are justified in expecting professionalism from their followers. Correctly used, coercive power can help to improve the performance of others and set standards but can also damage morale if used incorrectly or too often.

Referent Power

This comes from a leader’s personality and the relationship they have with their team. A leader with good charisma (personal appeal) is able to gain a high level of respect from others. This may come from their age, skill, experience, charisma, relationship with senior people, or authority.

Reward Power

This comes from the power a person has to recognize and reward others. The rewards can be financial and non-financial rewards that are used to influence the performance of others positively.

Leaders who show favoritism to a particular person or group can create a negative effect on the performance of those not in the ‘favored’ group.

The Five Powers

Leadership power can be used to motivate employees and increase productivity. The correct use of power can improve coordination between different departments, set high expectations and self-discipline but misuse of these powers can lead to low morale, inefficiency, and high staff turnover.

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Additional reading (external link):  French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power

Main image: Pixabay.com


Posted in Leadership Series.