Many times when I speak with a manager and they lament at the difficulty of “managing,” I ask the question: what is your style?

We all know great leaders.

Each one has a unique style only they can pull off. It’s true: leadership style is as unique as the individual. One way to understand each style is through the different types of power in the work place.

There are three types of power in the workforce we’ve learned from Manager Tools:

Role power.
Expertise power.
Relationship power.

You’ll leverage all of these at some point to get results and retain your team.

Which one is the best?

Think back to a time you had to do something where you were forced to do it because your boss “told you so.” It can be motivating in the moment but it won’t produce power with happy longevity. This is role power. It’s effective but should be used sparingly.

What about the manager who knows the business in and out? She has been there since the company was 8 employees and now runs the division. There isn’t much she doesn’t know. If you rely namely on expertise power, what happens when a smarter, hungrier version comes in and does a better job. Any leverage you had as an expert goes out the window.

There is only one type of power that builds sustainable, trusting working relationships and that is relationship power. Relationship power is like a gas tank. It must constantly be refilled by spending time, learning and listening to your team members. The best way to systematically “refill the gas tank” with relationship power for each direct report is by doing 1:1 meetings.

According to the Manager Tools team, relationship power should be used 85% of the time to develop your team.

When you’re leading your team today, ask yourself what type of power am I leveraging to produce results and engaged employees.

About WideAngle: powering conversations that make you put the phone away.