If you're already a leader, do your people follow you through fear or respect? And if you're aspiring to lead, how will you get the most out of your team?
The power of position, the power to punish, and the power to control information can be risky to wield. They push your team members into a position of weakness and can leave you looking autocratic and out of touch. Your team members will likely not enjoy being lorded over, and may even attempt to undermine you if you use your power simply as a show of strength.
Fortunately, there are three types of power that are much more positive: charismatic power Add to My Personal Learning Plan, referent power Add to My Personal Learning Plan, and expert power. Of these, expert power has to be earned and requires a great deal of energy and focus to maintain. But it tends to be longer lasting than other forms of power and more rewarding as a result.
This article explores the steps that you can take to build your own expert power.
Defining Expert Power
You gain expert power when you show a high level of knowledge or a great level of skill that people around you see, need and want. They will likely come to you for advice and want to follow your lead.
Unlike power that depends on your formal position, expertise is personal to you. Anyone can possess it, no matter what their level or grade within their organization. You might be the sole member of a team who understands a particular software program, for instance, or the go-to person for industry knowledge.
Why Expert Power Matters
Expert power is a great asset to have.
It provides leaders with a robust power base from which they can manage people confidently. According to management professor Gary A. Yukl, expert power is more important than reward-based or coercive power in leading people effectively. If you have expert power, your team is likely to be more open to your efforts to guide them, and you'll find it easier to motivate them Add to My Personal Learning Plan to perform to their full potential.
Expert power can also help you to get noticed Add to My Personal Learning Plan, which allows you to craft a higher-profile role. It can help you to build up your own personal brand Add to My Personal Learning Plan, and increase your influence Add to My Personal Learning Plan and reputation Add to My Personal Learning Plan at work.
Expert power doesn't just benefit you, either. Your expertise means that others will naturally look to you for direction. They will put their trust in you to make wise decisions and produce good results. At the same time, they'll learn from your unique skills and experience when they work with you.
But remember that you will need to constantly develop those skills and knowledge to keep hold of that expert power.
How to Build Expert Power
Building expertise is no easy feat. It can be a time-consuming task, but, ultimately, it's a worthwhile one. Research has shown that it can take at least a decade to build up expertise. Some argue that it takes as much as 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class at something, though others disagree. In fact, maintaining expert power is a lifelong commitment, so you will need to refresh and update your knowledge continuously if you wish to remain the go-to expert in your field.
How you build expertise will depend on the sector that you work in. Academic study will be necessary in some sectors, such as scientific research for example, while practical experience will be needed in others, such as real estate construction or journalism. Consider how your industry operates and identify existing experts whose lead you could follow.
Then, carve out an expert "niche" for yourself by seizing any opportunities that come your way to further expand and impart your knowledge, and use these to build up and show your skill. Use information gathering Add to My Personal Learning Plan to solidify your role as an expert. This involves the collection of both background information, such as trends and facts, and specific task-related information, such as a risk assessment or a quality standard.
However, remember that it's not enough just to build expertise. People have to recognize your skills and to acknowledge that they need what you have. You can achieve this by following these six key steps:
1. Promote an Image of Expertise
Perceived expertise is often associated with education and experience, so make sure that colleagues know about your formal education, work experience, and accomplishments.
You could display diplomas, licenses and awards in your office, or refer subtly to your prior education or experience at an appropriate moment. For example, "We had a similar problem when I was chief engineer at GE, and we found... " Be careful, however, not to overplay this tactic, as it could backfire if people think that you are bragging.
Demonstrating your expertise can often be more effective than talking about it. Offer to mentor Add to My Personal Learning Plan a co-worker or to write about your area of expertise in company newsletters or blogs, or on social media.https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_04.htm