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Gianna Lorbeck

UNIV 392
Power and Leadership
The relationship between power and leadership is one that can be overlooked. Personally, I had

not thought about their relation to each other until reading and analyzing Northouse reference to the

“Bases of Power”. Northouse elaborates on the intersectionality of power and leadership by relating both

to the influencing process. Power is shown through leadership as having the capacity to impact others’

beliefs, attitudes, and actions. This can be easily highlighted through the five “Bases of Power” presented

by the work of French and Raven. Referent power, expert power, legitimate power, reward power, and

coercive power increase a leader’s ability to influence others. I have observed these bases of power in my

own life and they can be shown through my own leadership style.

A main example used to present these bases of power is through my employment last summer. I

worked as a part of the housekeeping staff for the Conference Services department. Towards the end of

the summer, our team had a change in managerial staff. The assistant manager became the manager and

now needed to fill the assistant manager position. I was a candidate for said position. In order to make a

decision, our new manager gave each of her contestants a trial run in order to present their leadership

qualities and abilities. In my example, the five bases of power were demonstrated through our leadership

and the ways in which we handled the duties of the assistant manager.

The first basis of power, referent power, is based on the follower’s identification and liking for

the leader (pg.7). As assistant manager, I contained referent power due to the positive relationships I had

with my co-workers. Possessing referent power allowed me to be accepted by my peers in this new

position because they enjoyed working with me. Expert power is the second bases of power and is defined

as being based on the followers’ perception of the leader’s competence (pg. 7). This type of power is one

I also maintained because of my work ethic and ability to effective and efficiently get the job done. This

allowed me to gain my co-workers respect as they were aware of my capacity to take on the
responsibilities of assistant manager proficiently. Following expert power, legitimate power is associated

with having status or formal job authority (pg. 7). I obtained this basis of power by simply being given the

assistant manager position. Legitimate power became a part of the leadership qualities I hold as a result of

the position’s authority.

As shown through the “Bases of Power”, power can represent a variety of factors that play a key

role in the way leadership can influence others, such as one’s authority or one’s ability to be liked by their

followers. Through my example, I presented a few of these bases of power and how they were shown to

enhance my leadership abilities. Power, in it’s different forms, allowed me to more effectively influence

other’s belief, attitudes, and actions through this new authoritative role. The interdependent relationship

between power and leadership is important in using as a resource to impact those around you.
Work Cited

Northouse, Peter G. (2010). 5th Ed. Leadership: Theory and Practice. Sage Publications, Inc.