12 Sources of Power for Project Managers

14 Sources of Power for Project Managers


In talking about sources of power for Project Managers, we should note that powers can originate with traits exhibited by the individual or the organisation.


Power is often supported by other people’s perception of the leader. It is essential for project managers to be aware of their relationships with other people. Relationships Enable Project Managers to get things done on the project.


There are numerous forms of power at the disposal of project managers. Power and its use can be complex given its nature and the various factors at play in the project.

Power of project managers

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The various source of power available to Project Managers include:

  1. Positional: This is sometimes called formal, authoritative or legitimate power eg formal power granted to the organisation or team.
  2. Informational: (Control of gathering or distribution).
  3. Referent : (Respect or admiration others hold for the individual, creditably granted).
  4. Situational : E.g (Gained due to unique situation such as specific crisis.)
  5. Personal or charismatic.
  6. Expert: (e.g skill, information possessed, experience, training, education, certification e.t.c.)
  7. Reward-oriented: (e.g ability to give praise, monetary or other desired items.)
  8. Punitive or coercive: Ability to invoke discipline or negative consequences on others.)
  9. Pressure based: (e.g limit freedom of choice of movement for the purpose of gaining compliance to desired actions.
  10. Guilt based: ( e.g imposition of obligation or sense of duty).
  11. persuasive: (e.g ability to provide arguments that lead people to a desired course of action).
  12. Avoiding: Refusing to participate in an activity. Top Project Managers are proactive and intentional when it comes to power. These Project Managers will work to acquire the power and authority they need within the boundaries of organisational policies, protocols and procedures rather than wait for it to be granted.


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Updated: July 18, 2020 — 11:29 am
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