Everyone leads differently, but all leadership involves authority. Most leaders exhibit the same types of leadership power.
Just as every employee brings their own skills and talents to a company, every executive brings their own leadership style to the table. No matter how they run team, each leader usually exhibits at least one of these types of leadership power.
1. Legitimate power
Legitimate power is traditional power – it is the type of power a manager, executive, or another leading official in a company has due to the status of their position.
2. Information power
One gains information power when they know something other people want to know. This information could be anything from gossip to intricate knowledge about a person or company.
3. Expert power
People who have more knowledge or experience than other members of their team exhibit expert power. For example, an executive with 20 years of experience in their field has expert power over a recent college graduate who is just starting their career.
4. Reward power
A leader who has the ability to reward an employee or team member (with money, praise, etc.) has reward power.
5. Coercive power
Coercive power is the opposite of reward power; a leader who can punish an employee or team member has coercive power. Because the threat of punishment can persuade an employee to act a certain way, this type of leadership power is called “coercive power.”
6. Referent power
Referent power is all about “who you know.” A leader with lots of referent power may have many connections or a large social network they can use to their advantage. Someone with referent power may also be close to an executive with legitimate power.
7. Charismatic power
Similarly, charismatic leaders have the ability to influence others. While they may or may not have an established network of contacts, they usually have a natural ability to persuade or inspire others.
8. Moral power
A leader who has moral power over his or her employees and exhibits ethical leadership has been placed on a pedestal, so to speak, due to their beliefs and actions. A leader’s good qualities can lead to them having moral power over an employee, because the employee may be inspired to replicate the leader’s actions.
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