Ways of gaining power in the workplace


Every person works towards becoming a leader so that one can acquire the power and influence that come along with the position. In the workplace, there is usually a lot of competition on who gets which position.

This is the reason why employees work towards impressing their superiors so that they can get an opportunity to be promoted from the level they are in to a higher rank, which comes with more duties as well as more power. Power is defined as the ability of a person to compel others to change their actions in order to conform to what the person wants (Houser, 2004).

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Types of power

There are a number of ways, through which a person can gain power at the workplace. Power gained using forceful means is considered as coercive power. This includes using intimidating and threatening actions to impose a person’s will on other people. One can also gain power through their ability to be in charge of all the means of production at the workplace. This kind of power puts one in a capacity to make all decisions pertaining to the activities taking place at work (Jex, 2008).

There is also the genuine power, which one gains because they are considered experts in their area of work. Such a position means that a person has a lot of authority both at their workplace and in the eyes of the society. These are the kind of people in power, who make it possible for others to gain some amount of power through associations.

This is what is known as referent power. People with referent power attract people because they are deemed similar to those they associate with. The final type of power is what is considered as informational power. This kind is based on a person giving relevant information, in trying to influence other people, accompanied by an argument that makes sense (Raven, 2011).

Ways of gaining power in the workplace

The first step in gaining power is ensuring that I treat everyone I work with the same way I would like to be treated. Power works well when those you are trying to influence find one approachable, easy to get along with and understanding.

I respect other employees who work under my supervision, just as they respect me. In this way, I am able to influence my employees to follow a certain way of completing a specific task without having to use any type of coercion or force because we all respect and understand each other in the same way.

I have quite a lot of experience in my line of work and this is what has enabled me to acquire a high level of power. My fellow workmates recognize this fact and that is the reason they come to me for advice on how to handle an issue that may arise at the workplace. This is because they know that I will assist in coming up with a solution that is workable and effective.

I have never used the basis of my wealth as a means of acquiring power at the workplace. I consider myself a people-oriented leader because I always consider the people who work under my authority before I embark on making a decision that affects them. I believe I am this position of power that I have earned through my own hard work and determination.


Houser, R. M. (2004). Gaining power and control through diversity and group affiliation. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Jex, T. W. (2008). Organizational psychology: a scientist-practitioner approach. New Jersey: John Willey and Sons.

Raven, P. 2011. “Bases of Social Power- French Raven”. Value Based Management. Retrieved on April 1, 2010 from http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_french_raven_bases_social_power.html


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