Balancing the Use of the Five Sources of Power
- by Peter Dean
In part one of this series on charisma, I explained how to properly use the verbal, vocal and visual elements of speaking to create presence and display leadership. Here, I delve into how balancing the five sources of communications power can help you create a positive interactive influence.
Sources of power include position power, political power, intrapersonal power, power of expert knowledge and interpersonal power.
Positional power is the power that is given as in a title or level having to do with perceived relevance, seniority, importance and status in a company. It represents the legitimate power the company has given to a person to exercise appropriate sanctions of selection, promotion, rewards, discipline and punishment.
Political power is the ability to utilize relationships with others in the organization to advance an initiative or idea. It allows the executive to work with people in a way that is in the best interest of the business. It requires sensitivity to how work gets done with consideration to other connected stakeholders.
Intrapersonal power is demonstrated in an executive’s ability to suppress unhealthy ego surges; to prefer to use fairness, honesty and integrity in transparent dealings even though it might require more energy; to listen and empathize to the emotions of others; and to respond with respect to others during conflict.
Expert power is the amount of previously accomplished education, development and training about the knowledge of management and leadership as well as a desire to continue to add to one’s fund of knowledge through lifelong learning.
Interpersonal power enhances the capacities of sociability and social sensitivity through the use of model interactive skills. Some of these skills are: demonstrating mutual respect; working with people in a way that uplifts, inspires and supports their efforts; and communicating with sensitivity to age, gender and race issues.
When an executive uses all the sources of power in exchanges—while keeping mindful of the verbal, vocal and visual elements of communication—he or she is applying charisma to the dialogue and others will feel the positive effects. That, in turn, will create a deeper appreciation of the leader. As others feel inspired/brighter/better because they are in communication with an executive who is showing respect, truly listening to them and empathic to their point of view, they will reciprocate in kind when it is their time to listen and empathize.
Charisma is not a mystery. It does not mean having special powers. It is a combination of many skills that executives can learn. If executives learn to align verbal, vocal and visual elements when speaking to others, they will increase their presence and thus improve their level of charisma. If leaders can learn to use power in appropriate ways with stakeholders and constituents, they will greatly improve their interactive influence with others and thus build their charisma in new and energizing ways.
Editor’s note: Read Peter’s first blog post about charisma, “Three Critical Elements of Charismatic Influence.”