This is a crucial distinction. When an individual is hired to a position, it is assumed that they will automatically have legal power. The individual may not be an expert in a particular subject and must gain the respect of others to be granted referent power. Individuals who rely on only one source of power, which is legitimate, are doomed to failure. Based on real-world experience and the way the authors explain power, it is possible to be effective by understanding how each source of power works together. Robert Greene explains in The 48 Laws of Power that people have different perceptions of power. We can see power from three different perspectives when we become more aware of the power around us.
Most of us are linear thinkers. We develop our leadership style over time based upon personal experience. Our parents are our first encounter with power and effective leadership. As children, we strive to follow the rules and expand our jurisdiction. Our different experiences shape our leadership style as we mature and grow. Our effectiveness is determined by how we use different sources of power within a given situation. Let’s take the example of a leader who is compassionate, transformative, and people-centric. Her background includes five years of software development in the commercial sector. She is a PMP and MBA. The context is a $7M high-risk Gov’t project with a fixed price contract. It lasts only one year. She and her organization have never worked on Gov’t contracts before.
- Can this style be effective as a leader?
- What sources of power is this leader able to draw on?
- How can this leader be successful?
If you wish, leave your comments and contribute to the situational context.