Expert Power in Leadership: Types & How to Develop it?

“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”- John Maxwell

Have you ever heard about the ‘ten-thousand-hour-rule’?

The term was coined by psychologist Malcolm Gladwell. His theory and research stated that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice makes a person expert. Be tech-entrepreneur Bill Gates or musical greats The Beatles!

But many times, at the professional level, we consider a person as an ‘expert’ even though he/she does not have at least ten years of experience. That is perceived expertise or expert power to be precise!

Power is a terrific characteristic property that can make a business professional a true leader. It is all about how you execute them!

So, before we start let’s discuss what exactly expert power is!

What is Expert Power?

Expert power is an innate quality of a business professional which is perceived by others, may it be his/her colleagues, seniors, or subordinates. A high-level knowledge base and expertise or skill in a particular area as demonstrated by the individual makes him/her gain more power or influence in the workplace.

A powerful person may not necessarily be a source of expert power. But a professional with expert power can be one of the most powerful people in an organization.

How? Let’s discuss this with an expert power example!

An app designer in an IT firm would probably be a more influential person due to his/her expertise in that particular area. As a result, the employee’s power will eventually rise, and his/her advice on the concerned area would be considered as a valuable suggestion.

The scenario can be slightly different in the medical sector. Two or more surgeons with general skills might be present in a hospital. One may be an expert in particular surgery, which would make him/her an expert surgeon. This would result in a power shift, which is a per-basis type based on expert knowledge.

Power is a mercurial parameter in business. But it is also one such ability that makes one a true leader.

Let’s have a quick insight into the various powers related to leadership!

6 types of power in leadership

  • Legitimate Power: This power comes from a position in a company, role, or even from a job title. This helps in aligning the business policies, agendas, or framing strategies and also in executing them. Legitimate power is an act of sheer balance between formulating the ideas and circulating those in the system.
  • Expert Power: This is the most respectable power and a professional with such an enduring quality is a great problem-solver. They can assess themselves and know actually what they are doing. Besides, their expertise and experience in the concerned area assist them in taking the right decision when required.
  • Reward Power: It is one of the most influential powers as a professional with such power is capable of rewarding the employees for their performance. Aligning the incentive or giving a token of appreciation to the one who deserves it on the basis of performance is a vital leadership quality that helps in building a strong team.
  • Referent Power: Power in the business or organizational level brings more respect and eventually a lot more power. Referent power is one of the most important aspects at a professional level. An individual with incredible personality traits, interpersonal skills, and integrity can influence another person for the sake of business productivity. This is a significant skill that helps things be done in a smoother way and creates numerous followers in the professional world.
  • Information Power: Fact-based decision is quite an essential factor for leadership quality. Analytically strong people can influence through factual data which is often considered crucial from a business growth point of view.
  • Coercive Power: Just the way too little use of power can make one insignificant, overuse can be pretty intimidating among the employees. Coercive Power is one such power where one influences others by threats or coercion. This is the negative use of power that can bring down one from a leader to the ugly head of an organization.
So the above details make it pretty clear that among all expert power is one of the most respected and valued qualities. Let’s see how it is advantageous for business!

Perks of expert power

Expert power itself is a great ability that makes an individual strong and powerful in an organization through his/her vast knowledge base or experience. But there some more benefits as well and those are:

  • Simplifies business decisions: Expert power brings in the capability of taking prompt and rightful decisions on your area of expertise. The more you focus on it, the better you understand and more confident you become in taking justified decisions. It also improves the efficiency and speed of completing a task.
  • Career advancement: The more you spend hours grooming yourself in a particular area you naturally develop expert qualities in that field. Eventually, you gain the momentum to speed up your career development with improved skills and a better knowledge base that brings forth promotion and even financial stability.
  • Extend leadership qualities: Apart from gaining confidence and enhancing career growth, expert power is also beneficial in developing leadership skills. This is what leads you to become a good leader and helps in better team management.
Skills can be honed and groomed overtime to bring out the best in you. Let’s discuss how you can do it for expert power!

How to develop it?

Being an expert does not always help in leading a group or a team. You need to develop your power for that. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Wilful utilization of skill: “Practice makes a man perfect.”- This is the ultimate secret to achieving expertise. You can imbibe the quality of expert power only through practice. Whether tactical skill or conceptual idea you need to work hard from the base level to get the real-world experience for establishing your position as an expert.
  • Work with leaders or mentors: Be a sponge when it comes to acquiring knowledge from your mentors or leaders. Discuss every bit of incident that’s occurring in your career and ask for expert tips to make the right decision and set off for a brighter future. Listen and observe closely what your mentors do or tell to become an effective leader like them.
  • Put forward your expertise: Do not hesitate to put up your expert skills. This lets others know what you are capable of. Also, be positive while accepting feedback for the betterment of your career development.
  • Never stop learning: Keep the hunger for learning alive in you. The expiry date of your expertise depends on how long you wish to be a student and soak up knowledge. Keep yourself updated with trends and be at par with the latest development.
  • Prove your credibility: To establish your credibility make sure you become reliable, besides being an expert. Otherwise, you will fail to have the perceived power from those around you.
  • Improve your efficacy and efficiency: To stand out from others in the competitive world make sure you work on 2e’s- efficiency and efficacy. And, to develop your E’ power try working in a fast-paced environment. This improves your decision-making skill and makes you strategic, calm, and composed even in critical situations.
  • Have flexibility: Be flexible enough to adapt to new ideas, technologies, and skills. Focus on enhancing your career growth by being humble, empathetic, and transparent in your judgments.
  • Develop solution-giving ability: Your aspiration to become a good leader starts with problem-solving abilities. This will again develop your expert power qualities as the feedback from your seniors on your solutions will help you improve a lot.

Key takeaways!

  • Learn more to be an expert and to also remain an expert.
  • Follow your mentor’s advice to achieve expert power quickly and effectively.
  • Promote your qualities to let others know about your capabilities.
  • Be confident to seem reliable and credible.
  • Understand what’s needed to give better solutions, make the right decision, lead a team efficiently and improve expert power.
  • Be flexible to receive feedback and to work under pressure to develop your expert abilities.

Wrapping up!

Whether aspiring business leaders or newbies in the corporate world, developing expert power would make you an eligible candidate for leading a great team. It will help in boosting your confidence and you will acquire professional skills of managing business decisions single-handedly without mistake.

Wanna be a corporate hero, get your expert power rejuvenated!