What knowledge does a good leader have which allows them to be so effective? What do I need to learn to become a good leader? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself. Once you begin to ask these questions, you are already on the right path to leadership. You need to be passionate about acquiring highly esteemed knowledge and prepared to do whatever it takes to reach the point of being a good leader. One fundamental requirement of being an effective leader is to learn and execute the art of personal power. This must be learned because personal power is a source of influence and authority in leadership.
When we are examining all the sources of power, we see that power is traced back to five sources. These sources are then split into two separate categories that are as follows: organizational and personal power. Organizational power is broken down into 3 sources of power, they are: coercive, reward and legitimate power. On the other hand, personal power consists of both expert and referent power. Upon further inspection on the effectiveness of leadership, it becomes abundantly clear why personal power is so important for a masterful leader.
Expert power means that a person has the ability of significantly impacting the decisions or demeanor of others due to their observed skills and knowledge. If you visit a cardiologist (heart doctor), you have expectations. You expect the physician to be in possession of a plethora of knowledge regarding the technicalities of the heart and conditions that can affect your heart. Certainly, you would expect the cardiologist to know a lot more than you about how the heart works. For this reason, if a cardiologist recommends that you eat healthier and exercise more to prevent heart disease, you are likely to take his/her advice. Furthermore, if an expert is regarded by others as being especially knowledgeable on a given subject, his/her expert power will be magnified. A world re-known cardiologist will have more expert power on a greater number of people than an obscure cardiologist in a rural town.
Referent power is the other part of personal power that must be mastered. This power refers to the ability that a person has on influencing the actions of others because they are well respected and admired. An example of this is likely something that many people have experienced at some point or another. Let’s say you have a great friend that asked you if you could help him/her with a certain thing. You don’t actually want to help because it’s an annoying task, but you decide to do it anyways because you have a strong relationship with this person. When this happens, your friend has exercised referent power over you.
It should have become apparent to you why personal power is a source of influence and authority in leadership. Personal power ultimately boils down to two themes: credibility and respect. If you have excellent organizational power but lack personal power, your leadership skills are greatly diminished. As you march forward in the path to building exceptional leadership skills, you must build your credibility. Give others a reason to believe you are intelligent and knowledgeable. You must also build a strong support network so that others feel compelled to follow your instructions or recommendations when they are given.