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Cultivating Leadership Excellence: The Role of Referent Power in Company Culture

Referent Power in Company Culture

John C. Maxwell once said that “a leader is one who knows he way, goes the way, and shows the way”, and in theory, anyone can be a leader, but it takes much more than “simple” knowing to make a good leader. Good leaders are not born overnight, it takes time and effort to get to a position where an individual is capable of leading others, toward the achievement of company goals. 

The importance of a good leader for a company is invaluable, as they are the ones who implement the company’s vision and values among others, they ensure effective communications, motivate employees, boost the morale of their staff, and accordingly ensure the success of a business. In order to achieve these goals, a good leader must have a leader’s DNA consisting of traits such as high emotional intelligence, and strong communication.

Even when the leader has all of the above, there is one last thing that comes before all others. A true leader must have power. A power to make decisions that influence their teams, and a power to navigate the success of a company. In leadership, there are seven types of power a leader can use in order to achieve goals. 

The one type of power that is associated with some of the current most successful leaders is called referent power, and exactly this power is the topic of our article. So keep reading to learn what it is that makes referent power the quality that encompasses all others.

What is Referent Power?

The referent power is the power that arises from the individual’s ability to inspire and influence others. It is most relevant for the charismatic leaders who gain power by showing a good example, with their actions and personality that makes others feel valued and comfortable. In a business environment, referent power and the value of a leader’s approval will make other employees work more efficiently to reach the company’s goals.

The Role of Referent Power in Cultivating Leadership Excellence

The role of referent power is crucial for companies that are promoting positive work culture, as this type of power has the capacity to foster and improve teamwork while motivating staff to work together toward the same objective. Here are some more thoughts on why referent power is so important.

Creation Of Positive And Reliable Connections


Referent leaders are the ones who offer motivation and assistance to everyone. They are constantly prepared to offer original responses to problems, and as a result, employees experience lower anxiety levels and stress points.

By choosing this power, referent leaders choose to always create positive and reliable connections among their team members. They make sure that their team members will never be afraid to ask them questions or bring up problems.

Promotes Communication And Collaboration

Referent leaders are one who encourage their team members to share their own thoughts and ideas which might contribute to the company’s success. In this way, leaders will minimize bureaucracy and show employees that their work and ideas are valued. Improved collaboration and communication will also speed up the processes among teams.

Boost Morale And Increases Job Satisfaction

Great leaders motivate their team members to fully commit to their roles and obligations, but they are seen as inspiring role models for their team members. This can be done by providing employees with concrete examples of how duties inside an organization should be carried out. Employee morale is expected to boost when they are aware of what is expected of them and are acknowledged for their contributions.

Strategies for Leaders to Foster Referent Power

The most typical method for helping leaders develop referent power is by setting an example for others to follow. The team’s leader must be certain to uphold the principles he demands of them. Recognizing others is the next piece of advice. Any professional achievement, no matter how little, deserves to be celebrated. Praise the team members who go above and above and recognize them for their work, optimism, or accomplishment in public. 

This will give them a sense of value and perhaps motivate others to put in more effort in order to get recognition. A real leader must have the ability to invest in the team, listen to them, and have an open mind to any fresh ideas and proposals. Investing in a team entails getting in touch with them and making time for them to share their problems and suggestions.

The Positive Impact of Referent Power on Employee Engagement and Productivity

Referent power should provide several advantages for the organization if it is implemented effectively. Employees will be inspired and encouraged to provide their best effort in order to win the respect and approval of their bosses. The referent power promotes effective communication, which will help the organization since tasks will be completed more quickly, more creative ideas will come from employees who are hungry for recognition, and so on.

Today, companies are more and more trying to eradicate traditional leadership and place more emphasis on fostering strong relationships and collaborations among employees and teams. As such, referent power is becoming a crucial leadership tool.


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