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What is Power? | Types of Powers | Importance of Power in Organization/Leadership

The 6 Steps To Effective Leadership

Importance of Power in Organization | Types of Power | How To Gain Power

What is Power?

A word that describes the power to act or do something is “potency.” It has an association with a strong and healthful feeling. Power can be described as potential in the context of a machine, as the force or strength that is exerted on or by a body when it acts on another body.

Power can also be described as the faculty or capacity of doing or affecting something, the ability to produce a desired effect or result.

Power is also the capacity to govern, dominate, or defeat something. The power to do things is a sign of masculinity in particular.

In Western cultures, some societies believe that power is an attribute traditionally associated with masculinity, while those without this cultural background do not follow this stereotype.

No matter what level of power is assigned to a man, he will always be considered more powerful than a woman.

Abusing the Power

Power can be used for good or for bad. It is the most important strength that people have. Great leaders direct and take control of their group to accomplish what they want them to do. It is the key to achieving great things.

However, power can also be used by many people wrongly and it can also result in negative effects too.

To an extent, it depends on who has the power. The more power an individual has, the more influence he can exert on others.

A person who is in a position of power tends to be viewed as better than those who are not. This feeling of superiority and dominance can easily lead to discrimination in human relations because of the social inequity that results from this.

It also leads to exploitation and manipulation by some people who act on their desires and intentions.

Thus, the fear of not being able to control or manipulate situations leads to dissension in many relationships, especially in families and groups. Power is often abused by many people.

How To Gain Power: 9 Ways People Gain Power & Influence

There are many ways to gain power.

The first way to gain power is by default in that person who is not seen as powerful or powerful in society tend not to develop their personal power therefore no one takes them seriously as they are considered powerless.

Furthermore, since they do not have the power to speak up for themselves or act on their own behalf, they are dismissed as disempowered when this does happen.

The second way is by coercion and force wherein people use their influence over others to coerce them into doing things or believing in things.

The third way is through manipulation wherein the person entices the other person into doing what he wants for his own benefit or to achieve his own personal gain. It may appear to be harmless, but it can be very harmful if not handled properly.

The fourth way to gain power is through money, status, or prestige. This is the most important way because it involves money and wealth.

It is the easiest to get as people in developed countries see as more powerful because of their power over others due to their wealth and position in society.

Moreover, as more money is accumulated by influential people, they tend to become powerful.

This happens because they have the power over others which makes them closer to controlling circumstances than those who have little influence in society or are not seen as having high status.

The fifth way is influencing through the media. People can gain power through the media by entertaining people and getting them to be interested in what they are doing or telling stories about them to make people feel interested, entertained, and trust them.

The sixth way is through influence over politics. In this case, political leaders become powerful due to their influence on their respective parties and governments.

Their position leads them to be given more attention as well as placed greater power that enables them to get more resources from national governments.

The seventh way is through violence and force. Wars, aggression, struggle for power, and military coups are just a few of the ways in which power is gained through violence.

The eighth way is through influence over society. It includes power over social behavior through political manipulation, selective exposure to information and brainwashing, government propaganda campaigns, or by hurting innocent people or clashing with them (e.g., political repression).

These are all examples of how people gain power in different ways in any society at any time throughout history. However, these methods of gaining power are not always ruthless in nature.

Sources of Personal Power

A person’s social status is the level of power that person has or his/her characteristics that are important in order to be considered the high status and influential.

There are six major sources of influence:

  1. Wealth
  2. Education
  3. Political Connections
  4. Influence Through the Media
  5. Prestige, And Physical Force.

A person’s influence is determined by their standards of what makes them influential and how they choose to present themselves (outwardly) to the world.

Typically, power is categorized in terms of the control of two main resources: economic power and the power of political office.

These two forms of power are often used in combination in order to make sure that a person’s goals are met as well as to maintain stability within a given society.

Social status is not determined by only one factor, but by several different factors and the amount each plays into an individual’s perception and influence is dependent on that person’s perspective.

Some are able to totally ignore the amount of influence they have had on others, while others are much more aware of that influence.

Being aware of your ability to influence people can help you understand the impact you’re having on others and seek to improve it. A little knowledge can go a long way towards making positive changes in your life.

Power is important in all walks of life. In business, a company or charity will often have a board of directors that dictates how funds are distributed.

The board of directors is given power and authority to make these decisions about how the company is run and who is given power within the company.

In relationships, couples can give power to one of the partners to decide what they will do together for date night or what to cook for dinner. This is usually about taking care of the other person and trying to make them happy. I

In society, we give police officers power in order to keep the public safe. We elect leaders, including our president, in order to make decisions that will affect all of us.

Types of Power & Influence

1. Legitimate Power

Legitimate power is the power to influence people’s behavior within the limits of society. It is a type of institutionalized social control, and it is used by governments, corporations, and other large organizations to regulate the behavior of their members or citizens.

This type of power comes from people who are given power by others in an organization

. Legitimate power doesn’t come from your own actions; you can only use it when you’re asked. Legitimate power can be given or taken away based on someone else’s discretion.

Legitimate power is the type of power that comes from the people that are being controlled and governed.

When you’re in a legitimate relationship with someone, you have the ability to make your own decisions and actions because you have legitimate power over them.

People give you legitimate power when they trust and believe in you. They know that your influence is within an agreed-upon range because they’ve always allowed it before.

2. Reward Power

Reward power is the type of power that comes from people’s desire to earn money, prizes, or other types of rewards. Reward power derives from an exchange: if you do what I want, I’ll give you a reward.

Rewards can come in the form of money, goods, awards, status or promotions. There are two types of reward power: Vertical Reward Power & Horizontal Reward Power

3. Coercive Power

Coercive power is the power that comes from fear and threats. It is the opposite of legitimate and reward power because people are not doing something out of their own free will.

This type of power is based on fear, hate, or pain. People do what they’re told because they don’t want to face any repercussions. Coercive power is the power to punish undesirable behavior.

4. Expert Power

Expert power is the type of power that comes from one’s knowledge and experience in a certain area. This type of power can also be referred to as personal power because it comes from within you and it only works if you believe in it yourself.

Some people have expert power because they are seen as an expert in their field, but sometimes expert power can come directly from how others think about your knowledge on a topic or how they perceive your experience.

5. Authoritarian Power

Authoritarian power is the type of power that comes from a person with power or authority – a supervisor, boss, teacher, parent, or some other person. It’s the power of an “autocrat,” which is someone who has a lot of authority and is in charge.

People in authoritarian relationships often have no real choice in what they’re doing because they don’t have enough information about their situation to make decisions for themselves.

6. Informational Power

This is the type of power that comes from the knowledge and expertise that people have. This type of power can also be referred to as interpersonal power because it comes from communication with other people.

In an informational relationship, power is derived from sharing information and expertise with others.

This kind of power is often used in a parent-child relationship, where parents share information and expertise about how to do things properly.

7. Connection Power

This is the type of power that comes from forming a connection with other people. The connection can come from something as simple as talking to someone, but it can also come from something even more complex, like starting a friendship or being physically close to someone.

A lot of people have connection power because they know how to make connections and have those connections.

8. Status Power

Status power is the type of power that comes from being seen or perceived as someone with status or social significance. Status power is usually associated with and derived from one’s ability to get respect or acceptance.

For example, a rich person might have status power because other people tend to pay attention to his or her opinion and status.

9. Performing Power

Performing power is the type of power that comes from doing something. It’s also referred to as physical power because it relies heavily on a person’s physical capabilities. Performing power, therefore, goes hand in hand with strength and physical ability.

In this type of power, someone’s physical presence and his or her ability to perform tasks make them powerful.

10. Controlling Power

Controlling power is the last kind of social power that we’re going to be discussing in this article. Controlling power is derived from forcing others to do what you want them to do.

Some people refer to controlling power as a coercive power, which is very similar in nature, but it’s slightly different.

Another way to think about controlling power is to say it’s the type of power that comes when someone has the ability to make others do what he or she wants to do.

11. Referent Power

Referent power is sort of the opposite of controlling power in some ways. It’s derived from other people liking and respecting you, which comes from the ability to influence others.

The idea here is that people will voluntarily and regularly follow your suggestions simply because they like you and respect you.

A way to think about referent power is that it’s derived from popularity. If someone has a lot of referent power, he or she will be popular, which gives him or her more resources to work with.

12. Social Power

Social power is the ability to get someone else to do what you want them to do. Social power is similar to an authority, but authority is more formal and institutionalized.

In other words, while authority is part of a job (which can be taken away), social power is derived from your personal charisma, charm, and relationships with people.

Social Power is everywhere, which is one of its good sides. There are many ways to gain social status and influence people around you. In my opinion, communication is key in this area. The more you express your thoughts and ideas, the more likely you will eventually get some respect.

Importance of Power in Organization

People obtain the power to lead and influence others not only through their roles, but also via the resources they control.

There is always a difference of opinion and power among the members of the organization. No matter how equal an organization may be, it is inevitable that some people will want more power than others.

In organizations, it is imperative that even though everyone has the same title such as board members or managers, they also have different levels of responsibility also known as power.

In any work environment, one person’s success can directly affect another’s quality of work. In a study by Jacobson and Meyerson (1999), they noted that more than half of all employees reported that they were at one time or another, either frustrated by the amount of power that other employees had in their organization.

The organization’s productivity and efficiency depend on the right assignment of duties to employees based on their capabilities and responsibilities.

To avoid conflicts and problems between employees, power must be equitably distributed. Even CEOs who are considered to be in a very powerful position based on his or her rank have to comply with company policies. Otherwise, it would be a case of abuse of power.

In Adam Grant’s article (2011), he states that “power has a direct impact on performance. Firms led by powerful CEOs outperformed their industry peers by 14% during their tenure.

In another article (2011), the author states that the more power a manager has, the more likely they are to benefit from job performance.

Employees whose bosses have high levels of power saw improvements in performance while employees whose bosses had low levels of power saw decreases in performance.

To be effective in managing employees, managers must know how to distributivity share and utilize their power effectively. Both superiors and subordinates must cooperate in helping share the power.

The first thing that managers should understand is that power is something that cannot be achieved overnight and it must be earned.

Managers should realize as well that there are different types of power, which include administrative or technical (as cited in Grant, 2011); coercive (as cited in (Grant 2011), and reward.

Different types of power can be used differently. Managers must avoid the abuse and misuse of power especially when it is used to punish employees who are not willing to comply with one’s own personal agenda.

Managers should avoid abusing their powers by exploiting their employees in order to gain some sort of personal satisfaction through their use.

When this happens, employee morale worsens and productivity drops. One of these ways is by threatening to fire the employee if they do not do as you want them to.

These actions should be avoided at all costs because it is against the law. Managers should always note that power is directly related to responsibility.

One important aspect of having and using power effectively is having self-awareness about how one uses it. This helps one to manage his or her power more effectively and efficiently.

The use of power is one that can be abused by managers. Unfair use of power can occur if the managers do not do their research prior to being given the power, or they know they are given the power but do not know how to effectively use it.

Americans tend to believe that people have relatively equal amounts of power in society, but are shown to be oversimplifying the role and value of institutions that promote social order and stability such as law enforcement, government bureaucracies, and militaries.

Grant (2011) believes that power is unipolar in nature. He proposes that the power between the relationship and the inequality is equal and the power between the relationship and equality is greater as one increases.

Grant’s theory was shown to be accurate in a study done by Duflon (2006). The results showed that when one type of power was given to one person over another, it greatly decreased the amount of knowledge they shared with others.

Grant (2011) proposes that hierarchical relationships are based on power. Hierarchies have a leader and followers. Grant’s theory stems from a study done by Šabac (2006).

The results of this study showed that when one person is given more power over another, there is an increase in their self-worth and ability to make decisions, which helps them in being able to make good decisions.

Grant believes that this theory emphasizes the importance of being aware of how one gets and uses power. Grant believes that hierarchies create a sense of inferiority, which in turn leads to the need to feel valued and important.

Hierarchies have a set of roles that are assigned to people based on their role within the organization, their level of knowledge, or just being a member of the group. These roles can be in an employee’s job description, classification, or position in seniority.

Grant (2012) proposes that there are three factors that help to build hierarchy: power, affluence, and prestige.

Power is when a person holds economic or political control over the majority of other people. Affluence is when a person has a high income.

Prestige is when a person in an organization, according to their title, has respect and admiration.

These three factors can be assessed by using market research or industry analysis that works to ensure that one’s level of success within an organization is generated from their performance and not from other external factors such as race or gender.

Grant (2012) proposes that it is very important to be aware of how one gets and uses power in order to use it effectively.

Grant proposes that there are characteristics of the person using power in an effective way such as knowing how to share the power by distributing it fairly among those who need it, managing one’s power through self-awareness so one knows how they use their power, and not abusing their power.

Grant also believes that this knowledge will help an employee thrive within their organization. He also proposes that one of the best ways to manage power is to understand how power in a hierarchy is built.

Grant believes that one of the most efficient ways to manage power is by using market research and industry analysis.

Grant suggests that a way to effectively use the power within an organization is to understand how it affects people’s self-worth and productivity which in turn helps them make decisions regarding their job performance.

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