Informal Leadership: Definition & Explanation

Informal Leadership: Definition & Explanation
Coming up next: Relationship Conflict and Management: Definition & Resolution Strategies

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What Is Informal Leadership?
  • 1:31 Example
  • 2:19 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Have you ever had a job where, even though you weren't a manager or supervisor, your co-workers looked to you to solve day-to-day problems as they came up? If so, then you're already familiar with informal leadership. This lesson defines informal leadership and gives an example.

What Is Informal Leadership?

Informal leadership is the ability of a person to influence the behavior of others by means other than formal authority conferred by the organization through its rules and procedures. Informal leadership is basically any type of leadership that is not based upon formal authority. Formal leaders are able to exert both informal and formal power, but no informal leader has formal organizational authority to lead. Nevertheless, informal leaders do influence members of an organization and can be even more effective than formal leaders in certain circumstances.

Informal leaders have several bases of power. They are able to use referent power; in other words, they lead by example. An informal leader can also use expert power: others seek them out for knowledge and skills no one else in the organization possesses. They can also use reward power where they may praise and recognize members of the organization for a job well done.

On the other hand, they can't use legitimate, or formal, power because their authority has not been formally sanctioned by the organization. Moreover, they cannot use coercive power much because effective use of coercive power tends to require that it be wielded by someone with legitimate authority to carry out the rewards or punishments sanctioned by the organization. One exception to this general rule may be the ability of an informal group leader to apply peer pressure to a misbehaving group member to conform to group norms by the threat of ostracism.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support