Personal Power: 5 Importance of Developing It

personal power, position power vs personal power
Learning Strategies

Personal Power: 5 Importance of Developing It

Individuals who have developed their personal power have a combination of internal and external factors, such as values, beliefs, and ideas, that help them achieve personal and professional goals. These individuals understand that by utilizing personal power, individuals can increase productivity and achieve objectives more quickly.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of personal power, its types, and how to use it to build relationships and leadership.

What Is Personal Power?

Personal power refers to the ability to lead and influence people through personal character attributes, interpersonal skills, and professional competence. It is the opposite of positional power derived from job titles and hierarchical structures. 

Personal power is rooted in self-development, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a genuine desire to lead and support others. Personal power is essential because it allows individuals to positively influence others, build strong relationships, achieve personal and professional goals, and secure support and cooperation. It is a combination of traits, skills, and attributes that can be developed through self-awareness, self-improvement, and effective communication. Remember that personal power is not overpowering or controlling others but leading with integrity, authenticity, and compassion. It is about inspiring and influencing others positively to achieve shared goals.

By developing personal power, you can become an exceptional leader who can effectively lead and influence others, create a positive work environment, and achieve organizational goals.

Types of Personal Power

There are two types of personal power:

Referent Power 

Referent power originates from a person’s likability, charm, and capacity to form meaningful connections with others. This power can potentially affect other people’s behaviour, but it does not control that behaviour. It is a necessary quality for leaders to possess because they must have great communication and interpersonal skills to establish trust and inspire and motivate their followers.

Expert Power

Expert power emphasizes a person’s expertise more than their personality. People with expert power can exercise authority because they are experts in the disciplines in which they operate. Because they are reliable and educated, coworkers are likely to seek their guidance and opinions on a regular basis. .

In contrast to referent power, expert power is not dependent on a person’s capacity to form relationships; rather, it is purely dependent on a person’s level of competence and knowledge. Leaders need to possess expert authority since this allows them to make judgments and guide their followers.

Why Developing Personal Power Is Important

Personal power is essential for several reasons:

  • Influence and Leadership: Personal power allows individuals to influence the behaviour and actions of others. It comes from individual characteristics and traits, such as charisma, confidence, and interpersonal skills. Influential leaders understand how to use their power to inspire and motivate others.
  • Positive Relationships: Personal power helps individuals build positive relationships and connect with others. People with personal power naturally appeal to others and can easily make friends and influence people. Personal power is based on dependable, assertive, and well-organized traits.
  • Enriching Life: Developing personal power can lead to greater fulfilment and success in both personal and professional life. It allows individuals to drive towards their goals while uplifting and inspiring others. Personal power is not mutually exclusive with positional power; they can and should be used together for better and more sustainable results.
  • Securing Support and Cooperation: Personal power is essential to securing support and cooperation from others. Whether in a professional or social setting, achieving goals often requires the support of others. People are more inclined to trust and respect someone who embodies personal power. They believe in the person’s goals and appreciate their commitment and willingness to listen and collaborate.
  • Self-Development: Personal power is tied to self-development. It requires self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and an enthusiasm for achievement. To effectively lead others, one must first be able to lead themselves. Personal power is rooted in individuals’ power over themselves rather than the power wielded over others. It requires continuous education, empathy, and self-improvement.

Build Personal Power in Life

Tips on building personal power in life:

  • Cultivate expertise in your field by continuously learning and staying updated with industry trends and developments.
  • Develop strong interpersonal skills, including effective communication, active listening, and empathy.
  • Build trust by being honest and reliable and demonstrating integrity in your actions and decisions.
  • Foster positive relationships by being supportive, kind, and respectful towards others.
  • Embrace self-development by investing in personal growth, seeking feedback, and learning from failures.
  • Seek the guidance of a coach or mentor who can provide guidance and support and help you navigate challenges.

Building Relationships With Personal Power

Recognizing the impact of relationships on personal growth and development is crucial for building partnerships with personal power. Relationships can positively influence personal progress, offering insights and direction from knowledgeable individuals. Encouraging and sharing victories with others can help maintain momentum and appreciation for development. Power dynamics in relationships can manifest in various ways, such as demand and withdrawal, distance and pursuit, and fear and guilt. 

Understanding power dynamics helps settle problems and develop a balanced and secure relationship. A trusting, communicative, flexible, and respectful attitude towards limits is necessary to maintain a balanced power dynamic. A balanced power dynamic can be achieved by working together to support and encourage each other’s interests and aspirations.

The decision-making process and power dynamics in relationships can be reflected in the decision-making process. Resisting the influence of a partner is another form of power that can be exercised. To understand power dynamics, it is essential to evaluate each individual’s power in relation to the power of others. Power dynamics can shift over time and between different spheres of activity in a partnership, such as spending time together, expressing emotions, engaging with family and friends, organizing activities, managing finances, and dividing responsibilities.

Positional and Personal Power in Leadership

Personal power in leadership refers to a leader’s influence and authority based on their skills, competencies, characteristics, and personal attributes. It is a form of power that cannot be taken away from an individual, even if their positional power changes or is wholly taken away. Personal power is a critical leadership competency that every aspiring leader should develop before leading others. 

Positional Power

Positional power is the influence of holding a specific position or title within an organization. It is also known as inherent power and is often based on formal authority and the ability to make decisions and give orders. Examples of positional power include being a department manager, HR manager, or team leader. While positional power can give leaders the authority to influence behaviours, the title holds power, not the leader as a person.

Personal Power

Personal power is the influence that a leader has based on their attributes, competencies, and skills. It depends not on a formal position or title but on the leader’s ability to inspire and motivate others. Leaders with personal power possess qualities such as self-awareness, self-confidence, authenticity, and a strong sense of purpose. They lead by example and model their values and beliefs to others. Personal power allows leaders to influence behaviours based on who they are as individuals.

Both positional and personal power are essential in leadership and can work together to build influence and achieve organizational goals. While personal power is inherent to the individual and cannot be removed, positional power provides the legitimate authority needed to make decisions and move a team forward in unison.

Positional Power vs Personal Power

Personal and positional power are not mutually exclusive categories; nevertheless, you need not necessarily need either to have the other. There are a few key distinctions between personal power and positional power, including the following:

Individual power does not confer formal authority over others; positional power does. Positional power also grants the authority to judge or instruct others on what they should do. For instance, a manager can assign duties and set deadlines, whereas an individual with individual power could not have this authority in their employment position.

Personal power and positional power can both influence people. Yet, if you use your personal power effectively, you can convince others to accept your vision even if you do not have formal authority. Individual power is what provides you the ability to persuade people to embrace your ideas. Positional power may give you the ability to make decisions, but individual power gives you that ability.

Respect is the source of individual power, whereas duty is the source of positional power. For instance, management may have the expectation that an employee will respect a supervisor due to the supervisor’s position, even though the employee may not like the supervisor or regard them as a person.

Cultivate Your Personal and Positional Power

To increase personal and positional authority as a leader, one can exude charm, communicate effectively, and persuade others. Self-awareness is crucial for understanding values, feelings, and beliefs. Developing personal and professional influence involves knowing oneself, building self-confidence, and learning to let go and establish limits. 

Great leaders are personally in control of their lives and do not let external influences control them. Key stepping stones on the path to increasing personal power include letting go of circumstances over which they have no influence, establishing positive boundaries, and refusing to be deterred by past setbacks. By bolstering both personal and positional authority, leaders can encourage and inspire others, while positional power allows them to make choices and direct teams toward achieving corporate goals.


In conclusion, building relationships with personal power involves recognizing the impact of relationships on personal growth and development, understanding power dynamics, and fostering a balanced and respectful dynamic in decision-making. By valuing and nurturing relationships, seeking guidance and support, and maintaining open and honest communication, we can cultivate relationships that contribute positively to our personal growth and overall well-being.


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