Personal Power: Definition & Types

Personal Power: Definition & Types
Coming up next: Management Skills: Definition & Examples

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

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:21 Reward Power
  • 0:44 Coercive Power
  • 1:07 Legitimate Power
  • 1:30 Expert Power
  • 1:50 Referent Power
  • 2:11 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

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

Log in or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Molly Gigli
In this lesson, we will define and explore five different types of personal power, including reward, coercive, legitimate, expert, and referent power, and look at examples that go along with each type of personal power.

What Is Personal Power?

Power is the ability to influence or change an outcome. Personal power is a source of influence and authority a person has over his or her followers. Where does a person get this power from? In short, the power is determined by his or her followers. There are different types of power a person can hold. Let's explore some of these different types.

Reward Power

The first type of power we'll discuss is reward power. This is the type of power that is created when a person offers rewards to his or her followers for completing tasks. An example could be if an employee hits her sales goal, she'll win a prize or receive recognition at the company meeting. Reward power needs followers to believe they will be rewarded.

Coercive Power

The second type of power we'll discuss is coercive power. This type of power is the opposite of reward power. When a person possesses this type of power they will impose a penalty if their followers do not act as required. An example could be if an employee does not make his sales goals, he'll have to work every Saturday for the rest of the month. Coercive power needs followers to believe they will be punished.

Legitimate Power

Another type is legitimate power. This is the type of power that is created because of a person's job title. Followers believe this person has a right to instruct them because of the position he or she holds. A few examples of people who have legitimate power are a CEO of a company and a police officer. Legitimate power needs followers to believe a person has the right to tell them what to do.

To unlock this lesson you must be a 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

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
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? 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