How To Get Power In The Workplace
Leadership and power are closely linked. People tend to follow those who are powerful. And because others follow, the person with power leads.
But leaders have power for different reasons. Some are powerful because they can reward with purely financial benefits, others have the power to hire and fire, set your tasks, deadlines and performance objectives. These tend to be areas of power that can generate activity and emotion but are alone unlikely to unlock the potential and commitment of staff to the organisation.
On the more positive side, leaders may have power because they’re experts in their fields, or because their team members admire them. People with these types of power don’t necessarily have formal leadership roles, but they influence others effectively because of their skills and personal qualities.
Looking around the workplace, and considering other places you may have worked in, you can almost certainly recognise the points below as sources of power in managers and leaders.
Legitimate – This comes from the belief that a person has the formal right to make demands, and to expect compliance and obedience from others.
Reward – This results from one person’s ability to compensate another for compliance.
Expert – This is based on a person’s superior skill and knowledge.
Referent – This is the result of a person’s perceived attractiveness, worthiness, and right to respect from others.
Coercive – This comes from the belief that a person can punish others for noncompliance.
If you look carefully at the points above you will be better able to understand why someone has influence over you , recognize your own sources of power and then refine your leadership skills by using and developing your own sources of power, appropriately, and for best effect.
The most effective leaders use mainly referent and expert power. Using the other three could be a sign of a weak manager hiding behind a number of fences and barriers.
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