Power Vs Leadership: Difference, Examples, and Use Cases

Power Vs Influence in Leadership: Difference, Examples, and Use Cases

In the ever-evolving landscape of businesses, a leader is expected to practice a positive leadership style. Among the several aspects that affect leadership are power and influence. While both are two characteristics of an effective leader, knowing what to use for a growing workplace is beneficial.

One of the two key aspects of the organisation are power and influence. If you are a team leader, understanding the key differences between power and influence can be an integral part of gaining the value and trust of your employees. In this article, we have mentioned the key differences between power and influence in the workplace and explored the advantages and the importance of maintaining the two.

Power vs Influence in Leadership

If you are leading an organisation or are planning to, you must be aware of the differences between the two major aspects, power and influence. If balanced, they can be the best tools for empowering and increasing the growth of a workplace. Below we have mentioned the definitions of both of them,

What is Power?

Power, in business terms, refers to the utilisation of authority you have achieved with the position you are holding. Commonly, leaders with powers, agree with the rules; however, they do not believe in the same thing. While the employees under a powered leadership ought to agree out of fear, they accept your decisions as a belief.

In a power-driven workplace, employees lack communication with their leader, eventually degrading the organisation’s performance.

What is Influence?

Similarly, Influence refers to your skill to pursue individuals instead of utilising authority to bring changes in how your team members behave or work. Contrary to power, which utilises authority to make someone work, influence involves personal skills like persuasion and inspiration to improve work or introduce changes and ideas. If you are a leader and are seeking to work with your team, introducing positive influence is important, that also builds trust.

Power Vs Leadership: Difference, Examples, and Use Cases

What Is the Difference Between Power and Influence In The Workplace?

While both, power and influence, tend to change how a team member or an employee works or thinks, each of them has different ways. Power, on the one hand, utilises force and authority, to change one’s behaviour, and influence only utilises persuasiveness and never introduces force. Influence guides people and shows them what’s right for them.

Another key difference between power and influence is that power promotes isolation directly bringing one-way communication between employees and an employer. Whereas, interest promotes positive relationships and trust between a leader and an employee.

What is the relationship between power and influence?

With a strong advantage of power and influence, you can bring great changes in the workplace. While, practising power can be a poor choice for a leader, on many grounds, utilising both of them is necessary.

For Instance: Leaders, when an emergency arises in a workplace, cannot utilise influence as it takes time. Instead, they are bound to use power for an immediate resolution.

On the contrary, leaders are advised to practise influence for better results when it comes to the daily work schedule.

With the other ways, here are the benefits which you can consider for practising influence instead of power,

  • Unlike power, influence is long-lasting. Additionally, if a leader’s priorities influence, he would never face the fear of losing power.
  • While power forces employees to think in the same direction, influence promotes creativity. With accurate influence, you can motivate your employees to think differently.
  • With influence, you can motivate your employees to serve the best of the company.

Also Read – Leadership Weaknesses: What They Are, How to Identify, and Improve Them

What Are The Sources of Power?

The four biggest sources of power are,

Legitimate Power

Legitimate power comes from the position or authority you are holding. For instance, after becoming a manager, you acquire responsibility and decision-making authority. The power you hold comes with the position you are assigned is known as legitimate power.

Power of Coercion

The power of coercion refers to the punishment of having people on your team agree with you.

For instance, If you warn an employee to remove them from a running project if they don’t comply with you, it can be a power of coercion.

However, you will only be able to do this with legitimate authority and you are allowed to practise it.

Power of Reward

Opposite to coercion, the power of reward means using a reward to lure an employee to perform better.

While it is believed that employees tend to do better if they are provided with a reward based on work performance.

For instance, if you offer an office dinner if your team meets the target, you will need a legitimate authority for it.

However, if you decide to consume your money to give rewards, you might not need a legitimate power.

Expert Power

Expert power is when you hold expertise in a field. You hold power with the amount of experience you have.

For instance, if you have 10 years of experience in a job, you are most likely to hold power over a junior who is still in their learning phase.

Power Vs Influence in Leadership: Difference, Examples, and Use Cases

Methods of Influence

Besides power, here are the three best tactics of influence to lead the people around you,


If you are utilising influencing techniques, you can provide collaborative techniques, which gives them more reason to work effectively.


Showcase the behaviour that you are expecting from them. Instead of expecting the behaviour from your employees, start acting like this yourself.


Providing more consultation makes them more motivated and committed to a common issue by asking for input or advice from them.

Examples of Influential Leaders

Some of the examples that promote who have harnessed the power of influence are,

  • Nelson Mandela – South Africa’s former president, Nelson Mandela, is a prime example of leadership. Although he spent 27 years in prison, his commitment to his principles made him one of the most influential personalities in the world.
  • Jeff Weiner – LinkedIn’s former CEO served as a remarkable example of leadership through influence in the tech industry
  • Elon Musk: As a serving CEO of two leading companies, Tesla and X, this multi-billionaire serves as one of the most influential people in business. Although he has a weird work culture, he has inspired many with his impressive works 

Final Words

Although power and influence are two key aspects of the organisation, both of them have different impacts. However, when power is adequately used with influence, it features one of the best work cultures. Power, on the other hand, should not be misused as it can lead to negative outcomes including an organisation’s downfall and lack of positive employees.

If you are a leader and are also seeking answers for power vs influence in business to gain organisational power, read the above-mentioned guide. Here we have detailed what is the relationship between power and influence, its importance, and everything you should know.


About the author


Olivia Anderson

Olivia Anderson is a dynamic business advisor who has attended Northumbria University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in business management. With more than two years of experience, she has shared her expertise as a business liaison, account manager, and recruitment consultant for esteemed organisations. Currently working for The Next Hint Media, Olivia brings a wealth of experience among an array of fields including business development, client relations, and strategic planning. Along with her proactive approach and sharp insights make her a valuable asset in The Next Hint’s business team, constantly involving innovation and growth within our team. With a keen eye for detailed opportunities and excellence, Olivia’s determination for her work consistently increases expectations in the ever evolving landscape of business consultancy.

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