Being an effective leader requires having the ability to influence and motivate others. Knowing and understanding the different types of power can help leaders be more successful in their roles.

From legitimate and expert power to informational, reward, referent, and coercive power, there are many options for leaders to draw from. Each type of power has different implications and should be used with care.

Read on through this blog post as we explain each powerful type of leadership capability and discuss how they can maximize success for you and your team.

The 5 Different Types of Power Effective Leaders Use

Knowing how to wield leadership power is essential for running a successful business, and there are five distinct forms of it that all effective leaders should be knowledgeable about.

01: Legitimate and Expert Power

Legitimate power comes from the hierarchy of an organization or a leader’s position. It can influence and motivate others to do what is asked of them, often through rules and regulations.

Examples of legitimate power include a manager’s authority to assign tasks or set employee deadlines or a military officer’s ability to give orders. Effective leaders use legitimate power to ensure that certain activities are done promptly and with the appropriate level of quality.

Expert power is based on knowledge or expertise in a particular field. It allows leaders to influence others because they have credible information considered valuable by their followers.

Leaders with expert power are respected by their followers due to their extensive knowledge, experience, or qualifications on a particular subject matter. They use this power to provide guidance, advice, and suggestions that can help improve team performance or decision-making.

02: Informational Power

This power comes from access to information critical for decision-making or problem-solving.

Leaders with informational power can control how much information is shared with their team members and when it is shared. This enables them to determine what information needs to be known by everyone to perform effectively and who should be involved in the decision-making process.

The information involves two aspects: its accuracy and its relevance. Effective leaders use both these aspects when sharing information with their team members so they can make informed decisions and solve problems quickly and efficiently.

03: Power of Reward

Reward power involves giving incentives, such as monetary rewards, promotions, recognition, etc., in exchange for desired behaviors from followers.

Leaders use reward power to motivate team members by offering rewards for good performance or favorable outcomes resulting from specific actions taken by individuals or groups within the organization.

Reward power motivates since people are more likely to put effort into tasks if they know that there will be benefits associated with them.

A good leader understands how to tailor a reward system to reflect individual differences, ensuring that each individual feels valued and recognized for their contribution.

04: Referent Power

This power is the ability to influence another person based on the leader’s qualities. It is based on respect and admiration of the leader’s traits, such as charisma, intelligence, knowledge, or experience. Referent power often comes from being seen as a role model or mentor by followers.

Leaders can use referent power to motivate their team by highlighting their successes and encouraging them to strive for higher goals. They may also seek mentors with similar qualities and can offer advice and guidance.

Also, leaders can set an example for their team members by demonstrating ethical behavior and maintaining high professionalism in all aspects of their work. Referent power provides an excellent method for motivating followers since it is not coercive.

In contrast to fear or reward, admiration promotes loyalty among followers and creates a sense of ownership in one’s work or mission. Furthermore, exemplifying desired behavior will help establish a culture of respect within an organization.

05: Connection Power

It involves influencing others through relationships based on family connections, friendship networks, political affiliations, or shared values. This type of power is rooted in trust between individuals built over time through positive interactions between them.

Leaders often leverage connection power when attempting to resolve conflicts between employees or teams to maintain harmony within the organization. Connection power can be used to introduce new ideas into the organization or increase engagement among employees by fostering relationships among them outside of their professional roles.

By connecting people within an organization, you can build strong relationships that might otherwise be hard due to differences in skill sets and backgrounds.

It also allows leaders to gain insight into different perspectives, leading to more effective solutions when managing conflicts or introducing creative ideas into an organization’s culture.

What Are the Key Characteristics of Strong and Effective Leaders?

A strong and effective leader should showcase integrity in their actions, which involves being honest and principled when making decisions. They should deeply understand their own self-identity, be aware of the impact their words and actions have on those around them, and stand firm in their values.

Courage is also a key characteristic, as leaders need to be able to take risks while maintaining trust within their team. Respect for those around them is a must, as well as showing empathy towards any members of the team who may be struggling.

Finally, leaders should strive to show gratitude towards their team by recognizing that collective success can only happen if individuals work hard together.

What Is Your Definition of a Strong Leader?

The definition of a strong leader is someone who can bring out the best in their team members while simultaneously creating an atmosphere of collaboration and trust among them.

Strong leadership also requires flexibility to find solutions that fit each situation while providing clear direction and guidance whenever needed.

Communicating effectively with your team is a fundamental part of strong leadership. This could involve verbal communication, such as giving orders or instructions, and non-verbal communication, such as body language or facial expressions that convey emotion or intent.

Lastly, strong leaders can delegate tasks efficiently so that everyone has an equal share in completing projects successfully.

The Keys to Successful Leadership

By understanding the different types of power available discussed above, effective leaders can make informed decisions regarding how they want to lead their teams. Whether it’s legitimate and expert power, informational power, reward power, referent power, or coercive power, every type has its strengths and weaknesses.

Leaders should learn to identify which type of authority works best in a given situation to make the most informed decision when leading a team. By doing so, they will become better equipped to handle any challenges they may face as a leader.

I’m Terry Taylor, a heart-centered, masterful coach, an organizational development psychologist, a business consultant and a lean six sigma black belt serving clients since 1991.

I serve highly successful people and those who are feeling frustrated, anxious, and unsure, they’ve been whipped around by outside forces with no end in sight and they’re afraid of giving up or giving in.

With my help people source courage in the face of fear, they are fully engaged in the present, they have a better relationship with themselves and with others, they are more effective decision-makers and they are more effective at everything they do.

The words they need to direct, connect, correct and inspire others flow easily from their heart because they’ve done the work to know who they are, what they want, and where they’re going.

They master self-awareness and clarity and operate with massive confidence.

They find their safe harbor working with me, where they’ll get the tools and strategies and the leadership and mindset coaching to invest in their mindset and make their vision for their business and life come true.

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