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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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12.3. The different kinds of power

There are two models of power that I'll use in this book. The advanced form will come later, in Chapter 16. For now, I'll stick to the simple, but potent, form of functional power.

Functional power comes in two flavors: granted and earned. Granted power comes through hierarchy or job titles (sometimes called ex officio or "of office" power). For example, the coach of a basketball team has the power to decide which players will be in the game and which ones stay on the bench. Or the boss of a small sales office might have the power to hire and fire anyone he chooses. But this power doesn't have anything to do with how much respect people have for the person wielding it, or even how much skill and knowledge people feel the manager has. In contrast, earned power is something that has to be cultivated through performance and action. Earned power, or earned authority, is when people choose to listen, not because of someone's granted authority, but because they think he is smart or helpful.

12.3.1. Do not rely on granted power

"I distrust all systemizers and avoid them: the will to a system is a lack of integrity."

Nietzsche

The use of granted power as a primary force in leadership limits relationships. It excludes the possibility of exchanging ideas, and it places the focus on the use of force, rather than smarts. While there are situations when use of autocratic power is required, good leaders keep that sword in its scabbard as much as possible. ...

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