022 Three types of Power

In one of our earlier episodes I touched on power and how there are three types of power. The three types off power are: role power, expertise power, and relationship power. I will explain how these types of power differentiate but I wanted to list them first in the beginning because I love structure!  

3 Types of Power

  1. Role Power – I am the boss!
  2. Expertise Power – The expert is always right!
  3. Relationship Power – Positive relationships get things done!


"People do things because their manager tells them to!"

Let’s begin with the first type, role power. Role power is when you are the manager. By definition what you say will be law for your employees. Role power relies heavily on hierarchical structure; all companies have this structure and once you join you are agreeing to abide by this. This is the type of power that you see people execute most often in the business world. People do things because their manager tells them to! Think about this example, if your boss tells you to do something you don’t want to, you don’t dare challenge them because what they say goes. Be careful with this type as everything you say as a manager comes from this type of power. The second type of power is expertise power. An example of expertise power is when there is a big project and a company hires a professional to consult. Everyone accepts the advice of the consultant because they are the expert in this particular field. Expertise power brings with it the ability to change a project directly or indirectly. Everyone trusts the expert right? This type of power is extremely powerful and has a lot of influence. However, expertise power can be limited especially because I have seen expertise power revolve around a 15 minute conversation.

"Everyone trusts the expert!"

The third and final type of power is relationship power. I saved the most powerful type for last! A great example of relationship power goes like this: imagine a big room full of people and there’s a problem with a project. No one knows what to do. So a certain person that is always known for reasonable proposals has an idea. Everyone agrees and starts the process! This is relationship power because if another person would make this proposal, half the room would look at him like he was crazy! They would just think, “Who is this guy?”

"Relationship power keeps organizations alive!"

Relationship power gets things done. This is the power that makes organizations change and become better. This is also the type of power that makes you important. This is why you need to do your best to develop positive relationship and impressions with people, even if you only see them once or twice a month. You never know when you might need them! Successful leaders operate in a way that allows them to maintain relationships throughout their team and company. So be nice with people!

Stay in lead!