The Power To Lead Effectively

October 14, 2010

Power is the ability to influence others, while authority is the right to influence others. Those with titles and position often have little influence over others outside of their authority, while those with little or no authority can be very influential and therefore powerful.

Influence is the essence of leadership (Yukl, 2010). The effective use of influence is the measure of your leadership.

The manner in which a leader exercises power largely determines whether it results in enthusiastic commitment, passive compliance, or stubborn resistance. Effective leaders exert both position power and personal power in a subtle, easy fashion that minimizes status differences and avoids threatening the self-esteem of others. These leaders use power in ethical ways and seek to integrate the competing interests of different stakeholders. Effective leaders attempt to empower followers in ways that are appropriate for the situation. (Yukl, 2010, p. 494).

This is exceptional advice when it is your responsibility to influence others. Even when its “not your job,” I would encourage you to see both the opportunity and responsibility to influence others in everything that you do everyday.

Power is a learned behavior.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Hi Bret, the Yukl reference sounds interesting. What’s the full citation?

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Shawn. It’s actually a textbook called Leadership in Organizations by Gary Yukl. I’m not a big fan of textbooks, but this one is very well written and because it is packed with evidence-based suggestions, I find it to be an exceptional reference source. Thanks! Bret