Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Powers of a Leader - Missing Sixth Power?


According to PMBOK, a leader wields five types of power. Generally believed definition of *power* is the ability to influence others to do what you want them to do. I tend to think otherwise that *power* is not always to influence others to do what "you want them to do" but to influence others to do things right, whether your way or their way, which ever makes most appropriate sense as the situation demands. And today's blog is inspired more from this thought process.

Five powers are defined in PMBOK as
  1. Legitimate or Formal - power comes about as a result of the leader’s position. This position is as a result of the buy-in from executives and enabling the leader to call the shots.
  2. Reward - is the ability to grant bonuses or incentive awards for a job well done. This ability depends on the position of the leader.
  3. Coercive or Penalty - is the ability reverse of the previous one and also depends on the position of the leader.
  4. Expert - is the *best* form of power in which leader leads the team with his knowledge whether technical or functional and
  5. Referent - power comes when the team members identify themselves more with the leader and have respect.
I would like to add the *missing* power of motivator to the list. Probably motivator can be included in the "Rewards" or "Experts" but I feel that this should be segregated and defined as a separate power wielded by the leader.

Motivation is the single most important ability emerging for a leader in the ever changing world of change. Leadership is all about change management by leading the team from the realities of today to the dream of tomorrow. Motivating is not the ability to influence others to do what you want them to do but what others ought to do. There is a thin line..isn't so?