Power is a force of influence and authority

Power is a force of influence and authority - Power is a...

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Power is a force of influence and authority. Most leaders wield power, but how power is manifested and used often differs between leaders. Where does a leader get power from? Or do a leader’s followers give it to them? Well it’s both. In this article, we’ll be looking at the five different sources of power a leader can use, with some advice on when these powers should be used, and perhaps when not. The five sources of a leader’s power come from distinctly different sources. Here’s an overview: Expert Power: When a leader has significant domain knowledge/skills. E.g. an expert accountant influences how junior accountants go about their tasks Positional Power: Comes when a leader has a legitimately held position of authority. E.g. typically, the CEO of an organization has the highest positional power Reward Power: Is evident when a leader can give, or take away, a reward. E.g. a leader can influence a follower’s behavior by awarding a bonus, or taking away perks Coercive Power: This is felt when a leader creates the perception of a threat. E.g. a leader has coercive power if her followers believe that she will initiate disciplinary action Personal Power: Influence gained by persuasion. E.g. a manager may have to rely on nothing more than a friendly please and thankyou for an employee to perform a task So now we will look at each of these sources of power and consider when they could be used, and when it’s not appropriate to use them… Expert Power: If you’re reading this then you’re probably like most technical professionals and leaders that potentially have expert power. It is the esoteric nature of the technical professional’s subject matter that means most superiors or colleagues don’t possess the same applicable knowledge or judgment as you, even if you have no formal authority on the subject. Therefore your word on your subject carries weight and has the means to influence the outcome of decisions where it applies. For example a programmer can influence the design of a niche application because of their knowledge of a codebase, and a support engineer can influence how a support process operates because they are known to be the best at supporting that function. It is common, therefore, that followers can have more expert power than their leaders. New leaders particularly can possess far less knowledge than their followers. This can put you in a vulnerable position. To gain the same level of knowledge can be time-consuming and possibly not practical, if skills are hard to acquire. You wouldn’t expect an CTO to take a Cisco course so that they can directly influence the outcome of a network design, would you? As a leader in this situation, you should not rely only on expert power to influence outcomes and use other sources of power accordingly. Therefore, by possessing expert power you have something that most others cannot easily acquire. It is a powerful asset.
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This note was uploaded on 10/17/2011 for the course BUSI 3002 taught by Professor Marclyncheski during the Fall '11 term at Walden University.

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Power is a force of influence and authority - Power is a...

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