What are your power sources?

Whether you are a manager or leader you need to have a sense of your power sources and use them to advantage.

Here are five primary sources of power than we all have.

Position power. This kind of power derives from your rank or title in the organisation and is a function of the authority that you wield to command human and financial resources. The best leaders seldom rely on position power to get things done.

Personal power. This is the power that comes from within your character. Your passion for a subject or achieving results, the strength of your convictions, your ability to communicate and inspire, your personal charisma, and your leadership skills all add up to personal power.

Relationship power. Everyone has relationships with others at work. Sources of relationship power include close friendships with top executives, managers, clients, stakeholders, people who owe you favours, and colleagues who provide you with information and insights that you normally don’t get thorough your formal business relationships.

Knowledge power. To see knowledge power in action just watch what happens the next time your organisation’s computer network goes down. Or when the budget papers are distributed. Knowledge power comes from the special expertise and knowledge that you have gained during the course of your career. Knowledge power also comes from obtaining academic degrees or special training.

Task power. Task power is the power that comes from the job or process you perform at work. People can facilitate or impede the efforts of their colleagues and others through the application of task power. You know when task power is being used when people say things like ‘that’s not my job’ or ‘I’m only sticking to our policy’.

Now consider these questions.

  • Which sources of power do you have?
  • Which ones do you rely on the most? Is this the best choice? Is
  • this limiting your ability to influence people?
  • Which could you develop and expand so you can be more effective in influencing situations and people?
  • Could you grow your expertise?
  • Could you expand your networks?
  • Could you be more flexible around doing your job?
  • Could you expand your interpersonal skills?

Your capacity to influence people comes from your power sources. If you want to be more influential, then expand your power.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist® specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.