Running a business or managing projects is no easy task, but having an expert on the team can make all the difference. Expert power is the ability to influence others because of one’s superior knowledge or skill in a particular area. It’s a type of power that can be extremely beneficial for both individuals and organizations.
In fact, of the different types of power identified by John French and Bertram Raven in their leadership theory, having expert power is the best source of authority since it’s the most useful and accessible source of power. But how do you get it and use it effectively?
In this article, we’ll explore what expert power is, why it’s important, and how to get it. We’ll also look at some tips for using expert power to achieve success in any field.
What is Expert Power?
Expert power is one of the several types of power John French and Bertram Raven identified in the 1960s. It’s the ability to influence others with one’s superior knowledge or skill in a particular area.
This is a type of power that can be extremely beneficial for both individuals and organizations. It also happens to be one of the most commonly used forms of power in the business world.
There are a few things that make expert power so powerful. First, it’s based on the assumption that experts know what they’re talking about. People naturally tend to respect and trust those who have knowledge or skills that they don’t have.
Second, expert power is often associated with credibility. When an expert speaks, people tend to listen. This is because they know that the expert has the knowledge and experience to back up what they’re saying.
Finally, expert power is usually based on expertise or experience in a particular field. However, this doesn’t always mean having a post-graduate degree or years of experience.
Sometimes, even a single piece of information or unique skill can give someone expert power in any situation, like being the only one who knows how to use a new software program introduced in the workplace or being fluent in a second language.
Why Expert Power is Important
Traditional forms of power like position power, reward power, and coercive power are important, but they often come with limitations.
Position power may not be available to everyone and create an unproductive hierarchy in the workplace. Reward power can be fickle, while coercive power can have negative consequences. All of these may also end up creating a toxic work environment.
In contrast, expert power is a type of power that’s available to everyone. It doesn’t come with many negative consequences and can actually help improve teamwork and communication. Additionally, it’s one of the most useful forms of power out there since it’s based on the assumption that experts know what they’re talking about.
The Benefits of Expert Power
Having expert power is an important asset for anyone looking to achieve success in any field, or even to improve their leadership skills, since having information and knowledge is a great advantage in the workplace. Here are some of the key benefits of this type of power:
Success in Any Field
One of the perks of having expert power is that it can help you achieve success in any field, especially in the field one is an expert in. Experts are often given preferential treatment and opportunities because their knowledge or skills are seen as valuable.
This also lends itself to more opportunities for growth and promotion, which in turn leads to learning new things and staying ahead of the competition.
When you’re an expert in your field, you’re less likely to be replaced or laid off during tough times. Your knowledge and skills are seen as too valuable to lose. In fact, many experts are actually in high demand, which can lead to better job security and higher salaries.
Another benefit of having expert power is that it opens up networking opportunities. When you’re seen as an authority in your field, people will want to connect with you to learn more about what you know. This can lead to new business opportunities, collaborations, and even friendships.
Improves Leadership Skills
In a team setting, not only does having expert knowledge help get projects done efficiently or processes run smoothly, but it also bolsters the leader’s authority. People are more likely to listen and comply when a leader is seen as an expert in the field. This can then lead to better communication and cooperation within the team, which in turn leads to better results.
The Disadvantages of Expert Power
Although expert power has many benefits, it does come with a few drawbacks. One disadvantage is that this type of power needs to be maintained. If an expert’s knowledge or skills start to become outdated, they may lose their expert power. Additionally, experts can also be wrong about things from time to time, which can lead to them being questioned and less trusted by their peers.
Another disadvantage of expert power is that it actually decreases the more you use it. As people learn the same skills and knowledge from an expert and are able to apply it in their own lives, the expert’s power diminishes. This is why it’s important for experts to continue learning and keep up with the latest trends in their field.
Lastly, experts can also be seen as arrogant and self-centered. This is because they often know a great deal about a particular topic and can come across as condescending to those who don’t have the same level of knowledge.
It is therefore crucial to stay humble and keep an open mind when using expert power, as this will not only lead to better rapport with your colleagues but also help you learn new things and gain interesting insights.
How to Develop Expert Power
Now that we know what expert power is and some of the benefits of having it, let’s take a look at how to develop this type of power. Here are a few tips:
The best way to develop expert power is to keep learning. Continue to educate yourself on the latest trends and developments in your field. This will help you stay ahead of the competition and make you seen as an authority figure.
Studying isn’t confined to the conventional classroom setting. You can attend workshops, read books and articles, and listen to podcasts on the topic of your expertise to improve your craft. There are also many online courses available that can help you improve your skills quickly.
Learning from your teammates, friends, and other professionals in your field is also a great way to expand your knowledge. Ask them lots of questions and be open to learning from them.
Showcase Your Expertise
In the workplace, use your skills and knowledge to help out with projects and tasks. Offer your expertise and advice when it’s needed. Doing so will show your boss and colleagues that you’re knowledgeable and capable in your field.
Plus, making your expertise visible means you get to continue honing and practicing it, which also benefits your reputation and credibility as an expert.
When you’re out networking, don’t be afraid to talk about what you know and how you can help others in the same field. Let people know about your expertise and what makes you an authority in your field.
For instance, are you particularly knowledgeable in the latest coding languages? Do you know how to use high-level software programs with ease? Are you on top of management processes and structures? These are the kinds of knowledge pools people want to tap into.
Make Your Expert Power Relevant
One of the best ways to use expert power effectively is to make it relevant to the situation. After all, your expertise won’t be of much use if it’s not applicable to the task at hand. When you can make a connection between what you know and what’s needed, it shows that you’re an asset to the team.
Tailor your advice and input to the specific needs of the situation. Share your ideas, of course, but also be open to others’ suggestions. Collaborating with your team will help everyone achieve better results.
Expert power isn’t an exercise in how big we can inflate our own egos. It’s an acknowledgement that we have something valuable to share with the world and the people around us.
In everything you do, have an open mind and a willingness to be wrong. Endeavor to find other people with expert power and learn from their knowledge.
Expert power is a profound tool that can help individuals achieve success in any field. It’s based on the assumption that experts know what they’re talking about, and this gives them credibility and respect.
There are a few things you can do to develop expert power, like always striving to learn new things, showcasing your expertise, and making it relevant to the situation. When used effectively, expert power can help individuals achieve their goals and improve teamwork and communication in the workplace.