The previous Leadership Notes blogpost explored LEGITIMATE power, a power of authority granted from a formal position. Another type of power is EXPERT power, which is authority resulting from a leader’s special knowledge or skills. Expert power probably exerts the greatest influence on followers; because when a leader is an expert, people follow their recommendations and direction for the reason of his/her superior knowledge. Leaders with a specialized type of knowledge can use it to influence or place limits on decisions made by people who follow them. Furthermore, a leader may be given the power to make decisions for others because he/she is an expert on the particular subject.
A disturbing example of how a leader can abuse expert power includes a Delaware pediatrician who took advantage of young children during office visits. Because of his EXPERT power, parents trusted his knowledge and authority while he performed routine check-ups and exams. However, the Delaware pediatrician took advantage of many children’s innocence. He was reported and charged in February, 2010.
Although this is an alarming example of how EXPERT power can be abused, it should be a sobering example for people to be mindful of whose expertise they follow and why they follow. Likewise, it should be a convicting example for leaders to be mindful not to abuse their EXPERT power to manipulate and exploit.
The following are positive examples of how EXPERT power can be applied:
– Give sound leadership or technical suggestions.
– Share your experience and knowledge with others to positively encourage.
– Provide others with good career advice.
NEED to learn and apply more exercises on EXPERT Power and other leadership strategies … enroll in The Leadership Experience eWorkshop on Tuesday evenings from March 9-30, 2010.
© 2010 Karlyn D. Henderson, M.A. All rights reserved.
Karlyn D. Henderson, M.A., Leadership Development Strategist, consults and coaches senior and executive women in leadership to climb their ladders of success and achieve a quality work/life balance by conquering challenges and breakingthrough barriers. Check out her BLOG: Leadership Notes at http://karlyndhenderson.com and follower her twitter@HendersonKarlyn.