7 Types of Power in the Workplace

There’s a quote by Margaret Thatcher that says, “Power is like being a lady…if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”  Personally, I find the study of power fascinating.  Dictionary.com defines power as “a person or thing that possesses or exercises authority or influence”.  So in essence when we use power; we’re utilizing our authority to get something. But, what types of power do we use in the workplace?

Everyone has powerEveryone.  And, I don’t believe that power is a bad thing.  The issue becomes what kind of power a person has and how someone uses that power.  Here are some of the common types of power found in the workplace.

Now, stop being modest and thinking to yourself…I don’t have any power.  As you can see, there are lots of different ways power can manifest itself.  And for that reason, it’s important to realize that power exists in all of us.  It’s also possible that you have different types of power with different groups or situations.

Now, the two biggest mistakes I see with people’s use of power revolve around (1) trying to use types of power they don’t have and (2) using the wrong types of power to achieve results.

To help you identify your ‘power zone’, take a moment and think about how you try to influence action from others.  You could use the descriptions above as a pseudo self-assessment.  Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 in each of the different types of power.  With 1 being not at all characteristic of you and 5 being quite characteristic.

This can be a (sorry for the pun) powerful exercise.  If you’re honest with yourself, I hope you’ll find the results helpful.  Not only for the way you tend to use power but in the way others use power with you.