There are four primary types of power in organizations. The first is the power of expertise. Expertise is required for success. Individuals jockey to be declared the subject matter expert. Expertise has become a competitive sport which can fuel a strong culture that values expertise, however cultivating expertise at the expense of other kinds of power will not position you as a leader. Being known as the expert can be perceived as selfish and the focus is about you and what you know, not about how you lead and optimize the performance of the team.
The third kind of power is the power of personal authority, character and charisma. The confidence you inspire in others is a key factor in leadership. The results you create, the choices you make. and the people you know are the key components of your reputation. We recommend you intentionally craft your values, sense of purpose and unique style that will set you apart and advance your leadership. Personal authority, character and charisma is what sets the most successful leaders apart.
The fourth kind of power is the power of position, your title and role in the organization.. The person with the highest positional power gets to make the key decisions. This reality often infuriates experts, who believe their insights should count for more when it comes to making decisions. Perhaps they should, but they rarely do. This source of irritation often happens when a new leader is brought in from the outside and has less expert power. Positional power is most effective when supported by the power of personal authority. Without it, others may not trust their leader’s decisions.
Expertise, relationships, and personal authority are all non-positional kinds of power you can nurture and develop throughout your career. Investing in your personal expertise, relationship currency, personal authority and character will help prepare you for when you are appointed as the leader with positional power.