I’ve Got The Power!


Power is a funny word. Most people think of superheroes or the strongest person in the world as being the most powerful, but it is not common to think of power in the business world. Power is the ability of a person to make someone do something in a particular way or influence someone’s behavior to make them act the way you want them to act. Many believe that power is something that is given to someone from the outside, or another individual. They see power as a position or title that comes with a certain type of authority which gives this person supremacy over others. (Gulati et al., 2017; Miller, 2018)

However, some say that power is something that comes from within an individual. It is said that a person’s real power is based on the choices they make, the way they think, and based on their actions. It is the ability of the individual to cultivate power within themselves. (Miller, 2018)

There are five sources of power that a leader can use in an organization. The first source of power is legitimate power. This is the power that a person holds because of their position within an organization and it is considered to be legitimate. The second source of power is expert power. Just as the title suggests, expert power is the power a person holds because of their expert knowledge in an area. Coercive power is the third power source. Coercive power is not the most pleasant type of power. It is used to enforce strict deadlines and even hand out punishments when deadlines are not met. This type of power can often scare employees. The fourth type of power is reverent power. The relationships that a person develops with co-workers and the way a person is able to present himself/herself to others results in a certain level of respect and approachability towards that person. Lastly, there is reward power. This power comes from the power a person has to give rewards to employees. These rewards could come in the form of raises, paid leave, company vacations, etc. So, how do you build these power sources as a leader in an organization? (Bhasin, 2019)

There are ways a new employee can develop sources of power in an organization. The first important action a leader should take is getting to know their employees. Leaders need to develop meaningful relationships with their employees and colleagues. It would be important to get to know those individuals who have higher authority than you in the organization. Build a network of people that can help you in various ways and that you can help as well to show your talents. Be versatile. Showing that you have the ability to adapt to different people and different situations will get you noticed. Versatility is considered to be a huge determinant in whether or not a person is recognized as a highly successful or just an average leader. Also, be trustworthy. Deliver the results you say you are going to deliver. Meet your deadlines. Show that you are reliable. Lastly, it is important for an employee to be open to feedback and to listen to others’ opinions. You need to be a leader who is willing and able to validate what people are saying to you and are open enough to listen to their thoughts and ideas, even if it means that you have to change a habit that isn’t working for the team. (Gulati et al., 2017; Newton, 2016)

A new employee can build sources of power in the organization by expanding his/her network in the workplace. Having an openness to help others on the team, being reliable in getting your work done in a timely fashion, and being open to all feedback can help a new employee have influence in the organization. Show that you have the power!


Bhasin, H. (2019, December 19). 5 Sources of power in an Organization. Marketing91. https://www.marketing91.com/5-sources-power-organization/

Gulati, R., Mayo, A., & Nohria, N. (2017). MindTap – Cengage Learning. Cengage.Com. https://ng.cengage.com/static/nb/ui/evo/index.html?deploymentId=557615113112872025758405199&eISBN=9781305643673&nbId=2485825&snapshotId=2485825&dockAppUid=16&

Miller, R. (2018, October 25). What Is Power, Really? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rickmiller/2018/10/25/what-is-power-really/?sh=32711e5942a7

Newton, R. (2016, September 13). Three Ways To Increase Your Personal Power At Work. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccanewton/2016/09/06/three-ways-to-increase-your-personal-power-at-work/?sh=660e60d10a7d

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