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The 7 Kinds of Power Leaders Have

The range of ways people exercise and respond to power can be complicated.

Think of power in this case as the ability to exercise influence.

Power is not intrinsically good or bad. We ascribe meaning to power and make choices about how we will use it or react to its use by others. Ultimately, power is a responsibility, and it exists as a function of the individual, one’s followers and the situation at hand.

Nicole Lipkin is a corporate psychologist who has spent her career diagnosing and resolving typical and troublesome leadership dilemmas. Her latest book What Keeps Leaders Up at Night? examines the underlying psychology that plays a big role behind those dilemmas.

One of those dilemmas, for instance, is understanding why people don’t buy in to your thoughts, ideas or proposals.

It’s all about power.

Seven Distinct Types of Power

1. Legitimate Power. 

Arising from one’s title or position in the pecking order and how others perceive that title or position. Those with legitimate power can easily influence others because they already possess a position of power.

2. Coercive Power.

Using threat and force to influence others. This power comes from fear, and failure to comply will lead to punishment.

3. Expert Power.

Derived directly from a person’s skills or expertise, or from perceived skills or expertise. Expert power is knowledge based.