The three most important sources of power for a leader in an organization that can best be used to increase the effectiveness of an organization while enhancing empowerment and a sense of control of the employees are legitimate, referent and expert power.
Most organizations are hierarchical in nature. If the title of the leader reveals a higher level in the organization it is very likely that the employee will be greatly impacted by the comments and/or opinions of this leader. It would be a rare individual and perhaps one with a short career in an organization which would not pay any attention to the direction and or ideas of a legitimate leader in business organization today. In fact, legitimate power helps maintain order, the chain of command, and direction for the organization. Without it there would be chaos and diminished effectiveness.
However, legitimate power alone does not necessarily mean employees with maximize effectiveness or feel empowered. Rather it helps direct individuals to people in the organization who have been identified as those in power. However, legitimate power without referent and/or expert power is of limited help in empowering employees. Referent power is needed to provide the sense of support and commitment the leader has to the individual and expert power is needed for those employees who need task direction. Expert power also builds confidence in the leader's ability to teach and delegate tasks that the team needs to accomplish.
Therefore, I believe that legitimate power provides the opportunity to utilize referent and expert power to fully empower employees and helping them feel integrated and valued members of the team.
James Gehrke is the President of Magnify Leadership and Development.
After various promotions in Sales, Sales Operations, Training & Development, and Sales Management and Training, he headed Pfizer’s Learning & Development for all of Europe, Canada, Africa, & the Middle East where he was instrumental in the development of a global management curriculum and other training initiatives to enhance organizational effectiveness for over 30,000 employees. He has worked on many high levels, cross functional teams addressing issues such as Field Force Effectiveness, Change Leadership, Leader Behavior Development, Executive Coaching and many others.
Since starting his own training company, James has developed and trained both public and private leadership, coaching, targeting and territory management sessions for hundreds of participants in various industries. James is bilingual and can teach in both English and Spanish.