Leadership can transform. Leadership can inspire, and leadership can also destroy. The kind of leaders that govern national and international systems of the world shape history and our future. But how important is the power of leadership in the status quo? Can power leadership be developed, or is it innate?
For many, power is a person’s birthright. Although that is true for our past, for a time when the sons and daughters of kings and queens sat on the throne and demanded respect, it is not so true for the post-modern world today. Today, power is derived from a person’s abilities, mannerisms, and most importantly, skill set.
If you want to learn more about the power of leadership and how it can be developed, continue reading ahead.
What Is the Power of Leadership?
Power of leadership is the extent of authority that an individual exercises over other individuals. However, power is not blind following, as is commonly perceived to be. The power of leadership is the individual’s ability to influence others and command respect. A truly powerful leader will have the support of their associates or team members in both the good and the bad times.
What Are the Types of Power for Leadership?
1. Legitimate Power
Legitimate power, as the word suggests, is derived from an actual, tangible position of power. It is unlike the perceived power showcased by influencers and politicians. Legitimate power has a senior status or role within a company or an organization. It usually informs formal authority that is delegated to the holder of the leadership position.
2. Referent Power
A special kind of power, referent power, comes from people’s ability to not just command authority, but also attract other people and build their loyalty toward the brand. It usually involves charismatic leadership that involves an excellent personality and superior interpersonal skills of the leader. In most cases, referent power comes from a person’s personality traits and articulation skills.
3. Expert Power
A person who is skilful and knowledgeable will hold some sway over others. However, in this case, an individual with the necessary expertise will also have authority within an organization. These people are generally recognized as emerging leaders and are hence awarded positions of power within the organization. Note that expert power may diminish if the leader is put out of their comfort zone.
4. Reward Power
Unlike other, more influential forms of power that generate loyalty based on the leader’s sheer charisma and influence, reward power requires something more. It requires leaders to incentivize behaviour through positive rewards and benefits. Within an organization, reward power would be someone exercising control by promising promotions, pay increases, or paid leaves.
5. Coercive Power
Coercive power, like the one used by leaders like Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler, makes use of threats and punishments to demand loyalty. It involves fear-based leadership where individuals are generally afraid of their managers or heads and perform tasks under pressure. Moreover, it involves forceful compliance; associates or team members perform tasks, but rarely put their heart and soul into projects.
How to Leverage Power and Leadership Effectively?
Having power and retaining power are two different things. Many people manage to reach powerful positions, but they let the power get to their heads and do not use it effectively. Here is how you can use the power of leadership to play the long game.
1. Prioritize Relationship Building
Power is transitory. If you have it today, others can have it tomorrow, and vice versa. This means that you can not simply hold onto power by force. Prioritizing relationship building does two things. Firstly, it ensures that you have networking that comes in handy when you are in need. Secondly, it ensures you have people you can trust blindly if things go south.
2. Avoid Overplaying Your Agenda
There is no denying the fact that almost all politicians have some personal agendas. Exercising power for gold and glory is not bad. However, when your agenda comes at the cost of your team or your organization, you need to keep it in check. Make sure you do not prioritize your agenda or personal needs above the needs of your teammates. This will make them lose trust in your leadership.
3. Use Your Communication Skills to Listen Well
When we talk of communication skills, we usually mean speaking skills: the ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas. However, what maintains your leadership is not your speaking skills, but also your listening skills. Leaders that are observant and pay heed to what their associates and team members are saying tend to develop better diplomacy skills. If you are unsure of how to improve your diplomatic skills, join a good training program.
4. Be Open About Your Correspondence
Often times, leaders are shady and are afraid of revealing too much. Caution is advised, however, you need to ensure that you are open about your correspondence with others, including your enemies. By showing transparency, you can develop greater trust in leadership. Moreover, this ensures that leaders are not simply talking the talk, but also walking the talk.
5. Try to Identify and Improve Status Quo
Most leaders are fixated on the idea of improving their organization and increasing revenue for it. However, great and transformational leaders also try to improve the status quo. Look at the great feminist leaders of today. They have not just made a name for themselves, but are also trying to do great things for women all around the world. This is what makes them hold legitimate power: power that passes the test of time.
6. Develop Charisma to Influence Others
When it comes to leadership, optics are important. You need to remember that your associates, your followers, and your team members are all looking up to you for inspiration. Leaders who have a charismatic leadership style often get a heads-up because they can use their words and their mannerism to inspire change. However, this requires effort. You need to work on both your verbal and non-verbal language skills to get ahead in the game.
7. Reveal Only What is Necessary
Although it is necessary to be transparent about your corporate or public dealings, it is not necessary to reveal your personal life and share it with your followers. This is because the leader-follower relationship demands some level of mystery and allure. If you become too relatable, others can cease to put you in a higher position and show you undying loyalty.
How Does Powerful Leadership Change the Status Quo for the Better?
1. Creates a Chain Reaction
The biggest advantage of powerful leadership is that it creates a chain reaction that benefits society for all times to come. Take the example of Abraham Lincoln. His efforts to abolish the institution of slavery helped end slavery all around the world. The steps he took in his lifetime created a domino effect and helped eradicate this social evil from the face of Earth.
2. Inspires Others to Be Agents of Change
An organization or an institution that is headed by powerful and transformative leaders creates tangible benefits. This is because such leaders are very stringent about what is right and what is ethical. Since they follow the highest standards of morality and ethics, they compel others to do the same. This is why you will notice that organizations headed by morally righteous individuals tend to inculcate a culture of positivity and optimism.
3. Change the Course of History
It is a truth universally acknowledged that history is shaped by its leaders. Adolf Hitler is often said to be responsible for World War II. Similarly, leaders like George Washington were responsible for creating one of the most powerful nations in the world. Currently, populous leaders like Donald Trump, Recip Erdoğan, and Imran Khan are changing how followers perceive their leaders. All in all, the type of leaders a society has, determines its present and its future.
4. Uplift the Downtrodden
Great leaders of the past, especially the ones that fought for the rights of minorities, managed to uplift the most unprivileged sections of society. They use the power of leadership to do good in the world. Moreover, these individuals try to create avenues for the underprivileged sections of society, thereby helping increase social mobility for these people.
5. Coaches Other Emerging Leaders
It is not always easy to identify emerging leaders. However, powerful leaders are the ones who have a lot of self-awareness, have keen observation skills, and can differentiate between common folks and individuals with leadership positions. These leaders hence coach emerging leaders and train them, so they can take up the mantle in the future. This helps create other powerful leaders that are ready for future challenges.
Become a Powerful Leader With Best Diplomats
Over the course of years, Best Diplomats has taught hundreds and thousands of young leaders to develop expert skills that are necessary to reach positions of power. Rather than focusing on fear-based and insecure tactics, Best Diplomats gives its participants knowledge, courage, and training to stand out and demand respect.
The organization has received countless awards and appreciation certificates from all around the world, especially from the USA. Not just that, it has had excellent reviews from its alumni. All in all, it is the best organization for you if you want to break shackles and hold the true power in the palm of your hands.
Look at any famous incident in the world and you will notice a pattern. The kind of leaders that have shaped the world we live in. Progressive and transformational leaders change the world for the better, whereas autocratic or exclusive leaders do the opposite.
If you want to feel the true power of leadership and use it for good in the world, you need to pay attention to the little things. Make sure you develop your connections, increase your networking, develop trust in leadership, and most importantly, improve your communication skills, so you can command respect among the audience.
What Is the Difference Between Power and Influence?
Often used interchangeably, power and influence are two different things. Influence allows you to affect or change someone’s beliefs according to your will. However, power is imposing your decisions or your will onto others. Influence can be exercised by anyone, whereas power is reserved for leaders with an actual position or rank.
What Types of Power Do Effective Leaders Use the Most?
Effective leaders make use of legitimate and reward power the most. Legitimate power is derived from an actual position, whereas a reward position is the leader’s ability to leverage good behaviour using the incentive of reward or bonuses. Together, these two forms can help make a leader powerful and unbeatable within their organization.
Why Is Power Important in Leadership?
Power allows you to not only control resources, but also influence people. By exercising power, you can complete your objective and your mission easily. Moreover, it allows you to minimize obstacles and organizational hindrances and thus accomplish goals. Additionally, power allows you to have the support of your people in times of crisis.
How Do Leaders Gain Power?
The best way to get power is to give it all away. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but it is the most powerful tool out there. When leaders empower others in their team and involve them in the decision-making process, they create a chain reaction where every person in the hierarchy performs their tasks to the fullest. This helps make the leader more powerful and the loop is completed.