Power means “the ability to influence people“. For example, if you have the ability to persuade your friends to move in the same direction as you do, then you have the power.
Authority is the “official power“. For example if you are assigned to a manager position where your subordinates are obliged to follow your orders then you have the authority. Military officers have the authority.
French and Raven identified five bases of power as: legitimate, referent, expert, reward and coercive. Legitimate power is authority. For example, police has legitimate power. Referent power arises from personal authority. It can be someone whom you like and want to follow (e.g your role model). When someone has expert power, that means this person has knowledge which others respect. Reward and Coercive power is the classic definition of carrot and stick. It means the person who holds the power to reward or punish has this type of power.
Tonight, I observed my father who has the ability to influence people around him. Regardless of his position (authority), his opinions are highly respected and considered in any kind of social setting. Why?
I think this is due to his integrity. That is; his character, his firm adherence to the codes of especially moral values. He has power because people know that he is:
- fair to anyone,
- has common sense,
- courage to tell the truth,
- respect for self, for others and for his actions,
- dependable because he is honest and ethic,
- has experience and can apply his knowledge in a logical manner
The people who do not possess integrity, frequently faces with what psychologist call as “cognitive dissonance“. That is, holding conflicting ideas or behaviours simultaneously. For example, trying to deceive someone with an idea which you do not believe.
On the other hand, people with integrity means they “walk their talk“. Those people who have integrity can influence people in a good fashion that is both beneficial to everyone. They are respected and admired. They are “role models”.
Moral of the story: Leaders with integrity have the most desirable power. In order to lead, you must ask yourself first: “know yourself”. second: “Do you have the integrity?”. third: “do you have good intentions?”.