A Leader's Five Sources of Power
Being a leader means that you need to be the guiding force that is moving your people from point A to point B. Antiquated leadership practices will not serve you well in the Future of work and might risk the productivity and goals of your organization. To be the leader that takes your employees to the future you need to master your five most important resources.
As leaders we all manage resources, budgets, inventory, employees et cetera. These help us complete tasks and move towards a common vision. But as a leader the first resources need to manage are your own resources. Strong leaders get energy from 5 key areas. If you don’t keep them in balance, you’ll burn out and won’t be effective as a leader.
Below we’ll outline the five key sources of power for leaders and how to best use them.
1. Lead by Example
When you’re ready to introduce something new, do it yourself first. As a leader, you want people to follow your example. If you want people to be prepared for meetings, you should be well-prepared in a way that’s clear to other people. If you want people to arrive on-time for work, you need to arrive on-time or even early yourself.
A lot of this boils down to a sense of fairness. If you ask your people to add a new process and you aren’t willing to do it yourself, they will immediately take note of this.
2. Be Professional
You don’t have to be the most talented person on the team, but you do need to understand the moving parts and how they all work together. A few years ago, a good friend of mine started managing a train transportation company. The first thing he did when appointed as a CEO was to get his train driver license. He did that to get professional insight on the most common work in his company. Being professional means - understanding the profession to speak the technical language of your team
Taking this face time with your people shows that you care and saves time and resources when you need to put changes into place.
3. Be a good person
You can set a good example by showing up on time to meetings and you can be the most focused person on the team. While those are good qualities to bring to the workplace, who you are as a person should also reflect in your behavior. If you are unkind to your colleagues, that sort of news will spread like wildfire and ruin your credibility as a leader. Nobody wants to follow a jerk.
Your title will help people understand you are in-charge, especially when you are new at your job. Make sure your supervisors give you a clear title and appoint you in front of your employees. But keep in mind that these letters after your name aren’t everything. You can't lead the way just because of titles. If you do not set an example, or you are unfriendly or unprofessional a title will not do anything for you.
5. Knowledge and Vision
When I first heard about the Five Sources of Power 16 years ago during my time in the Israeli Defense Officers School, knowledge was a very important energy source.
Say you are the only one with the map. This is a source of energy because you are the only one who knows where to go. The same goes for if you manage a warehouse and are the only one with the instructions page.
In today’s world sharing the “map” or “instruction page” isn’t power anymore. Why not? Simply because you can take a picture and send it to everyone right away. People now look at the persons who share the knowledge as the one that leads the way, meaning you have the vision of WHY we are moving on the map, or WHY we need to organize the warehouse. Make sure that people understand “why” they do things and not just “how” to do it. That will give you lots of power.
Why We Have Leaders
Leaders are here to lead. Without leaders, employees are just workers that do things without directions. Try to steer your employees in the right direction and align your goals with the organizational vision. You can do this from your position by using your leadership resources. By doing things first, understanding the profession, being kind, letting people know you are in charge, and sharing the vision, you will achieve the best results from your team, and evolve as a leader.