You Have the Power

You Have the Power!


You have the PowerOne of the major issues raised in coaching business leaders is that of effectively influencing others in (and beyond) their organisation. Some leaders are frustrated by a seeming lack of influence over their own team’s behaviour; others feel blocked by the decisions of the board or executive management which seem beyond reach. There is little doubt that the ability to influence strategically and effectively is vital for leaders in business today.


There are many aspects to effective influence; one is a growing understanding of where power comes from in the workplace. People tend to follow those who have power, and because others follow, the ‘powerful’ person has influence. Power here does not mean control – it is important to recognise the types and the source of power that occur in all relationships.

One of the most notable studies on power was conducted by social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven in 1959. They identified five bases of power:

  1. Legitimate – based on the belief that a person has the right to make demands, and expect compliance and obedience from others.
  2. Reward – based on one person’s ability to compensate another for compliance.
  3. Coercive – based on the belief that a person can punish others for noncompliance.
  4. Expert – based on a person’s superior skill and knowledge.
  5. Referent –the result of a person’s perceived attractiveness, worthiness, and right to respect from others.


What types of power do you see most readily used in your environment?

What do you rely on to influence the behaviour your team?

How do you most effectively influence your peers and your manager?

What could you do differently to achieve greater and lasting influence?


Post a reply with some of your thoughts and questions.


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Leadership Education Australia

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P.O. Box 7717, East Brisbane, Queensland, 4169