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What's Your Power Source?

Posted by Melissa Grey Satterfield on 11/23/09 1:10 AM
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One of my favorite topics in our 3-day workshop, How to Influence People and Events, is the section on POWER. “The Agile Manager’s Guide to Influencing People” defines power as “the ability to get your way; the capacity to ensure that your point of view dominates.” Getting others to move in our direction often requires Power.


Using Influence is always the preferred approach, but it doesn’t always work. It seems, as training professionals, we’re always trying to get others to “move in our direction,” whether we’re rallying for a new training initiative, a bigger budget, or an additional staff member. Since you can’t always get others to want what you want (Influence), you may have to use Power.

With that being said, how many of you know your own Power source? Many of us don’t – and if we do – we may not know all the sources of our Power.

In this blog, I’ll share the eight different types of Power and provide details on each type in order to help you determine your own Power base (source). Each type of Power falls under the category of either GIVEN Power (bestowed upon you based on your position) or EARNED Power (acquired through efforts to better yourself).


Position Power – This type of power causes people to let you have your way because of your legitimate title (Manager, Supervisor, Team Leader, etc.) or position in the organization.

Assigned Power – If you’ve been delegated decision-making authority, assumed additional responsibilities outside your current duties, and have “backup” responsibilities when your boss is away, you possess Assigned Power.

Reward Power – With this type of power, you praise others’ good performance and make sure management is aware of it, offer tangible rewards, thank others for their efforts and show respect toward others.


Competence Power – you earn this type of power when you demonstrate the skills required to do your job and possibly even exceed the performance standards for your position. You are a true Subject Matter Expert and receive plenty of praise for your performance.

Informational Power – You have informational power because you’re in a position in which you know the decisions to be made, the actions to be taken, or the events to be held. You are able to obtain information others seek and anticipate future information others may need.

Resource Power – Having the people, goods, tools, services, or money (resources) that others need earns you Resource Power. You actively work on creating a network of resources to offer others and can anticipate resources others will need.

Charismatic Power – You are able to inspire others to follow you and are usually surrounded by others who listen to you. You’re typically perceived as being confident and competent. You believe in yourself and your message.

Associate Power – You have a superior, sponsor, or influential ally who usually supports you and your ideas. You’re able to verbalize how your ideas fit into the company’s philosophy.

Based on the eight types of power, what kind of power do you possess? Given? Earned? A combination of both? Remember: To lead you must persuade; to persuade you often need power.

Learn more about influence and power by attending our How to Influence People and Events workshop.


Melissa has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Nevada where she studied broadcast communications. During her college years, Melissa worked as an on-air personality for several radio and TV stations in Las Vegas. She’s always been a bit of a performer, which is probably why training is such a good fit for her. Before coming to Langevin, she was a senior training specialist and course developer for an organization based in L.A. Melissa knows the challenges trainers face, as well as the rewards that come with improving job performance. Her training mantra is summed up best by something she learned during her very first Langevin workshop, “Never do for the learners what the learners can do for themselves.” When not in the classroom, Melissa loves travelling, relaxing at the beach, cooking, and hosting dinner parties.

Topics: instructional techniques, managing training

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